Galleria Esedra

Piazza Repubblica
Originally uploaded by schneller2000.

I have a feeling that over the next few months, we are to be peppered with articles about the rebirth of Rome, in particular the sexy Piazza Repubblica (we all agree those curves rival those of ScarletteJohansson) and the soon-to-be very hip Via Nazionale. Ideally, I would like to be the writer of these articles, heralding my new favorite area. However, if I am not that writer, (aka if no one wants my idea), I am to start the deluge with a few drops with Galleria Esedra...

Galleria Esedra is a goldmine of fun. A shopping arcade built in the 1950s with the idea of urban mall, it still houses many of its original shops.

1. Feltrinelli International (bookstore). Feltrinelli has several stores in Rome, with Largo Argentina claiming the title of largest and coolest. However, this Feltrinelli is just a good as its big sister. Split into two bookstores (Italian and International), a vast variety of international authors are found here.

2. Dagnino- (Palermitano cafe and pastry shop). Brioche con gelato (all pastries are made daily), cannoli, cassatine, cookies, teas, wines (good selection of Sicily's best), tavolo caldo serving favorites like arancine. Upstairs dining, along with arcade tables. Dagnino also has the best tea selection in Rome in its adjacent store. Where else in Rome will you find a practically complete stock of Marrriage Freres teas? Dagnino's also sells home accessories. Great place for last minute gifts.

3. Muzio- (Profumeria/accessories shop) Ideal for hair and bath accessories: barrettes, clips, mirrors, shaving stuff, etc. And it also sells knives. Odd but true.

4. Refilkarto (stamps and prints) Like Dagnino and Muzio, Refilkarto has been in Galleria Esedra since it opened. Hard to find stamps and antique prints.

Cesare Diomedi (on the corner of the palazzo, towards Largo Susanna). Located here since 1890, Diomedi sells purses (Borbonese, Roberto de Camerino, Cartier), jewelry and luggage. Nose around ground level and you'll see original marble floors, ceilings and murano light fixtures. Take your time picking out luggage in the first level Valigeria. Visit the back room for its original counters in beautiful art nouveau design.