Rome shopping – Bespoke JewelryFebruary 23rd , 2013 Tagged with: bespoke jewelry • Bottega Franchi • buying antiques • high end shopping in Rome • Massimo Maria Melis • Via dei Coronari
Searching for antiques and handcrafted jewelry in Rome? Just take a stroll through Rome’s side streets from Piazza di Spagna to Piazza Navona and you will discover the top shops and artisans. Itinerary: from Piazza di Spagna,Via Condotti, Piazza Fontanella Borghese, Via della Scrofa, Via dell’Orso, Via Coronari to Piazza di Montevecchio
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To enjoy the most elegant side of Rome, one must stray beyond the tourist sites following the shining window displays of Rome’s antiquarians and artists in gold and silver.
Begin your walk from the Spanish Steps, past the gleaming displays of big name jewelry shops such as Bulgari and Eleutheri and designer clothing shops where husky security men standing behind the display windows can be mistaken for mannequins.
The first stop is Piazza Fontanella Borghese where minor antiques can be found and then swerve over to Via Tomacelli towards the Tiber River, where the modern Ara Pacis complex and fountain can be admired.
From here turn left along Via di Ripetta, where the newest location of the Franchi family’s jewelry laboratory and shop is now located.
Fausto Maria Franchi has been creating magic objects in Rome since 1962, and now son Enrico is taking over most of the business and can be commissioned to create bespoke pieces of jewelry .
Here are the wax models of pendants that he designed for me to use two ancient Roman silver coins .
In a few weeks the silver pendants will be ready, after fusion using the lost wax technique.
Ancient traditions, ancient coins merge with modern sculptoral settings to make unique pieces.
The Via della Scrofa and Via Ripetta area are a paradise for window shopping with a plethora of elegant clothing and furniture shops as well as gastronomy shops.
At the intersection of Via della Scrofa and Via dei Portoghesi stands the Torre della Scimmia, immortalized in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Marble Faun”.
Here, at the beginning of Via dell’Orso is another historic Roman jewelry workshop: that of Massimo Maria Melis where he has been interpreting Roman, Etruscan, Byzantine and medieval style jewelry for over 40 years. Some of the materials he uses besides gold are Roman glass, coins, mosaic and enamel.
The shop windows, art galleries and architecture along this antiques and jewelry itinerary express the best in Roman taste: elegant eye candy and delightful objects fill each of the shop windows and galleries.
Via dei Coronari is another (usually) pedestrian street where one must keep a watch out for scooters while window shopping. Only a few artisans still work in the neighborhood which has become gentrified over the past few decades, with numerous wine bars, trattorias and highly priced real estate.
If you liked this you might enjoy the antiques articles (use the search bar) on my blog- 50yearsinItaly . Do like the Romans do and leave the big city on weekends and during the searing hot summer.
My books about the area north of Rome will give you insider access and information about where to go, what to visit. Order directly from the website contact page.
Antiques and collectibles are less expensive in the country towns north of Rome.