Just a stone’s throw from Piazza Navona lies a peaceful street, around 500 meters long, scattered with decadent gelaterias and quaint antique shops. Find yourself immersed in true Roman opulence as you meander along Via dei Coronari. It’s almost as if one has stepped into a time machine and traveled back 60 years; locals spend their day peering through shop windows or sipping coffee alfresco with their face buried in an enchanting novel. Life slows down on this cobbled street and the pedestrians happily let the day dwindle away in true Italian style.
Rome is full of wondrous flea markets, such as Mercatino dei Parioli and Mercatino di Ponte Milvio a Roma, however most of the city’s secondhand markets only operate over the weekend, and some even just once or twice a month. This is where Via dei Coronari comes to save the day; the street is home to an abundance of antique dealers that are open throughout the week. It would be criminal for a vintage enthusiast to visit Rome and not spend at least half a day exploring Via dei Coronari’s establishments and all of the hidden trinkets and treasures that exist inside them.
One of the stores that inhabit this Italian street is Galleria dei Coronari (Via dei Coronari 59). Founded over 25 years ago, this emporium is owned by three business partners whose specialities compliment each other perfectly; a mathematician, an art historian and an archaeologist. Galleria dei Coronari specializes in antique sculptures, ornate mirrors, bronze figures and works of art. Located on the famous artists’ street of Via Margutta, is a magnificent showroom owned by the same team. Galleria dei Coronari travels around the world to present their beautiful finds at major antique shows such as Biennale of Venaria Reale and Haughton’s show in Dubai.
Art Deco Gallery (Via dei Coronari 14) was founded in 1986. This boutique specializes in decorative arts specifically from the 1890s to the 1940s, paying special attention to paintings, sculptures, lighting and Italian and French furniture. Their stock includes glamorous sculptures of women dancing, grand floral vases, carved wooden storage units and incredible works of fine art. The owners are warm and welcoming, and the store has a magnetizing atmosphere. Visitors spend hours rummaging through the extensive selection of arts and furniture, and it is very rare that one walks out of the Art Deco Gallery without a new purchase in their mitts.
As you saunter along the street you will discover that on most building corners just above the old-fashioned street lights, there are delicately designed religious sculptures. These are just one of the little features and hidden nooks and crannies that help make Via dei Coronari one of the most charming streets in Rome. In medieval times it was called ‘Straight Street’ as it was the route that was straighter and faster to reach St. Peter’s Basilica. For this reason it was often frequented by pilgrims and then sellers of rosaries settled there (precisely the coronary, which gives the street its name).
Another show stopping antique merchant is Blu Old Sheffield (Via dei Coronari 37), stride through its big blue doorway and you will find yourself within Aladdin’s Cave. This vintage store is a haven for anyone with magpie-like tendencies, it is home to gorgeous shiny silverware, such as trays, candelabras, serving plates and photo frames. Almost directly opposite this antique wonderland is yet another store selling old-fashioned goods; Antiqua Res (Via dei Coronari 32). In there you can find an eclectic mix of secondhand goods from the 20th century.
Further down the street is Arte Antica Rufini (Via dei Coronari 79), which has been dealing in the antique industry for half a century. The Galleria Arte Antica Rufini has always been a family business, handed down from father to son. The popular gallery exhibits many beautiful and valuable works of art and sculptures. Paolo Rufini, the founder of the company decided his customers deserved to make a safe investment, which is why with every purchase his buyers receive a signed photograph as proof of authenticity.
The sheer amount of antique and vintage stores down the Roman street of Via dei Coronari is outstanding. Not only is it home to a plethora of second hand merchants, but also independent fashion retailers, coffee shops, gelatarias and jewelry shops. What is most impressive is how this street has managed to stay so calm and tranquil in comparison to most of the cities hotspots. Attracting locals and tourists, this destination should be on the to-do list of all antique enthusiasts traveling around Italy.
Antiquing Tip Of The Day
The best way to ask for a discount is to say ‘Is that your best price?’ If it’s $1,200 and they come down to $1,000, then you know they’re willing to negotiate. I usually push a little bit more and say, ‘I’d be really happy if you gave it to me for $800,’ and they might meet you in the middle.
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