A Tour of the Historical & Oldest Shops in Rome

Restaurants that have welcomed internationally renowned artists but also war heroes, tea rooms of English origin, which are now run by grandchildren to keep their rules and, above all, mythical addresses of antique dealers that, besides preserving art treasures, could to tell more stories than a book. Sometimes these places are hidden from sight, in other cases they leave no words with their decorations. To name them all becomes complicated, but which ones are the best known in the Capital?

The Antica Erboristeria Romana S.R.L

The Antica Erboristeria Romana S.R.L – Via di Torre Argentina 15 – It dates back to 1752. The beauty of the original furnishings is immediately noticeable, with perfectly functional drawers. At least 350 medicinal plants are kept here and the ceiling deserves special mention, given its splendid decorations with stuccoes and paintings. It almost looks like a museum and every kind of herb is neatly arranged and recognizable through a special plate and number in metal. A sonnet by the Roman poet G.G.Belli was also dedicated to it. More ancient there is only the pharmacy located on the Tiberina Island, next to the Fatebenefratelli Hospital. It dates back to the sixteenth century, but after recent burglaries and restorations it certainly creates a minor glance.

The Antica Cartotecnica

The Antica Cartotecnica – Piazza dei Caprettari, 61 – opened in 1930 and still operates. The idea was of Elisa Berti, the grandmother of the current owner. Eduardo De Filippo also bought nibs and inkwells, as did Renato Rascel. Today, Antica Cartotecnica, thanks also to the skillful restoration of its original furnishings and to the passion with which every customer is carefully followed and advised, has maintained that rare atmosphere of the past, when it is possible to admire and buy a wide range of products, both vintage and contemporary. In addition to a series of stationery items to collect, such as notebooks, 40s notebooks, bakelite desk objects, old globes, there are bags and documents in leather, diaries, rubrics, desk services, small leather goods and precious writing paper. Wide choices especially in pens: from the Parker Duofold of the ’30s to the Omas Lucens, up to the more “recent” Aurora 88 and Parker 51; in contemporary models (Mont Blanc, Caran D’Ache, Faber Castell, Aurora, Omas, Delta, Pelikan and many others) we range from medium-sized ball and roller pens, to limited fountain pens for collectors.

Tebro, the Casa Speciale of Linen

Tebro, the Casa Speciale of Linen – Via dei Prefetti, 52 – is located in via dei Prefetti, in front of the Parliament building it was opened in 1867 and it was the place where the Roman nobles bought the fabrics. In the twentieth century it was taken over by another family that still holds its reins. The company established itself from the beginning as one of the most exclusive textile warehouses in Rome, supplying the Royal house, the Vatican city, the noble Roman families, and many of the most important families of central southern Italy. In the 1950s, two points of sale were opened in exclusive and residential areas of the city (Monte Mario and Trieste district). In the 60s the company, together with 4 other companies specialized in the textile sector, founded the first Italian buying group in Milan. Thus began the experience in the research of fabrics and products both in Italy and abroad, and the first experience in the creation of collections of underwear and lingerie under its own brand.


Hausmann – Via del Corso, 406 – continues to be sought after especially by those who have to repair precious and vintage watches. The company dates back to 1794 and here it opened its doors in 1891 with a renowned technical assistance laboratory, which collectors from all over the world trust blindly. Few Houses can boast over two hundred years of tradition. Since the end of the eighteenth century, the company Hausmann & Co. has accompanied the passing of time in the Eternal City, transforming and growing, while in the background there were the historical events in the capital, in Italy and throughout the world. A tradition that continues, flanked by a strong innovative push by the latest generations, which led to the opening of the third store in Rome, characterized by an intensive use of high technology applied to the pursuit of maximum customer satisfaction, already in its purchase experience.

The Lar Lampshade Shop

The Lar lampshade shop – Via del Leoncino, 29 – was founded in 1938. Even now you can create excellent lampshades and lamps, following techniques that are handed down from generation to generation. The shop welcomes and serves the Romans and patrons passing through the capital. The high quality of the work and the exclusivity of the products has been appreciated over the years by a large group of prominent personalities, and some of these Lumi furnish the most important Roman palaces. In our laboratory lampshades are made in every work, from the ancient lampshades in parchment stitched, to the pleats, passing through the classic lined in fabric.

Antico Caffè Greco

Antico Caffè Greco – Via dei Condotti 86 – dates back to 1760 and boasts the presence of 4 rooms and 300 works of art. For this reason it is considered the largest private art gallery open to the public in the world. Antico Caffè Greco is located in Rome in via dei Condotti. It is a historical café of the city, founded in 1760, and owes its name to the fact that the founder, a certain Nicola della Maddalena, was Levantine. In addition to its historical origins, the coffee is famous for the many famous visitors they had over the years; It has been for a long time, and still is, a gathering of intellectuals and scholarships, over time many intellectuals and well-known names have passed from here, from Goethe to Wagner. Every first Wednesday of the month, the “Group of the Romanists” meets here, an ancient cenacle of scholars and academics, especially those of the city of Rome. Since 1940 their works have been collected in the book “Strenna dei Romanisti”, published every year on the occasion of the Christmas of Rome (April 21st).

Babingtons Tea Room

Babingtons Tea Room – Piazza di Spagna No. 23 – Babingtons is not just a Tea Room. It is an exclusive place that contains a story of courage and passion, born from the strength of Anna Maria Babington and Isabel Cargill, two visionary and intrepid women who at the end of the nineteenth century decided to open an activity in the capital of a country that was not theirs. Babingtons is a modern and contemporary story that contains so many messages in one place and that makes us reflect more than ever today. A story carried out by a Romanized British family who knew how to settle, respect, love and be welcomed in one of the main squares in Europe. A banner linked to England that today is not only a family business but also the historical memory of Rome itself. Crossing the threshold changes the atmosphere and seems not to be in Rome. With over ten refined teas from all over the world, homemade cakes and pastries. Today the management has passed to the great-grandchildren of the latter and very little has changed in the style of the Victorian era, including mirrors and draped curtains.

Bertoletti Pellicceriasince 1882

Bertoletti Pellicceria since 1882 – via Vittoria, 16 – the family-run fashion house has now reached its fourth generation of owners. Even now it offers a relaxing shopping experience among dreamy items. Located in the heart of the Eternal City, the atelier-showroom is a welcoming and intimate place, a place that transforms shopping into a relaxing experience, away from the crowds that gather in stores where the concept of quantity suppresses that quality. Among the strong points of Bertoletti there is certainly the craftsmanship and the “made to measure” in the workmanship of the garments that the company realizes with great skill. The purchase of a fur coat here is an opportunity to really possess something unique and special, never ephemeral, made with quality materials. Each Bertoletti article is numbered and guaranteed by an authenticity label.

Ristorante Il Vero Alfredo

Ristorante Il Vero Alfredo – Piazza Augusto Imperatore, 30 – a restaurant of the 1920s and only here you can taste the true fettuccine of Alfredo, whose fame has crossed national borders. It all started when his wife Ines gave birth to their firstborn. The woman was very prostrate after the birth of little Alfredo II and her husband, worried for his health, did everything to make her regain her strength with healthy and nutritious foods. It was here that the idea of ​​the dish was born, which later became famous all over the world. With his own hands he prepared fettuccine kneaded in semolina and seasoned with fresh butter and Parmesan. Then she made a prayer to St. Anne (protector of pregnant women) and served this dish to Ines saying: “If you do not want them, I’ll eat them!” She not only ate them with pleasure, but even suggested that they be added to the menu of their small restaurant. In the fate of Alfredo these two “contemporary births”, his son and the “blondes”, as he used to call his fettuccine lovingly, have since been the strong point of his world fame. His tireless work, combined with a great enthusiasm, managed to attract customers from all over the world. In the last century, among the customers there was the famous couple of American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. The latter gave the owner of the mythical golden cutlery with which from that moment they ate the most famous and special guests.

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