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Retail in Rome: Your 2-Minute Tour

One of the world’s top tourist destinations offers opportunities for retail brands





The “Eternal City” has a permanent population of about 3 million. But that number ballooned in pre-pandemic times by another 10 million tourists annually, reports real estate consultant Cushman & Wakefield (Chicago). While Covid did depress that number over the past couple of years, the city remains a major global destination for those eager to drink in its extensive history and lively, congenial environs.

TOP RIGHT: Housed in a historic mansion on Via Condotti, this Apple flagship includes an impressive Carrara marble staircase, originally constructed in 1888.

TOP RIGHT: Housed in a historic mansion on Via Condotti, this Apple flagship includes an impressive Carrara marble staircase, originally constructed in 1888.


While Rome remains one of the top tourism destinations globally, it fell one spot – to 5th – on the 2021 edition of Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations Index. Those rankings are based on six key measures; Rome scored best on tourism infrastructure and worst on health and safety, with Covid-related issues the main cause of the latter ranking.

📷: Courtesy of Pexels.Com/Javon Swaby

📷: Courtesy of Pexels.Com/Javon Swaby


Consumer electronics giant Apple (Cupertino, Calif.) put its first two stores in Rome on sites on the north and south sides of the city, both near its famed Ring Road (the Grande Raccordo Anulare outerbelt). But for its central-city location, it worked with Foster + Partners (London) to convert Palazzo Marignoli, a magnificent, 19th century mansion on Via Condotti, into a sparkling store that opened last year. “The new store represents a celebration of the unique history and art of Roman culture, and we hope to inspire creativity among the local community,” says Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s Senior VP of Retail + People.

Via Condotti is one of about a half-dozen luxe retail street corridors in the city. In addition, the Rome has experienced the arrival of several mixed-use shopping complexes, including, most recently, the Maximo. That three-level destination on the city’s south side near the Ring Road is home to about 160 tenants, including shops, restaurants and entertainment venues.



Due to its popularity as a travel destination, Rome remains a relatively high-cost spot for both tourists and retailers, the coronavirus notwithstanding. Still, opportunities can be found. For instance, “Rome is enhancing its appeal with the opening of several high-end hotels, which will impact and redesign the retail landscape with retail operators looking for new opportunities,” Cushman & Wakefield reported in its Marketbeat Italy Retail Q4 2021 report.

📷: Unsplash.Com/Mauro Grazzi | Apple, Cupertino, CA | Pexels.Com/Javon Swaby


Former managing editor of VMSD. Writing for VMSD since 2001-2010; 2018.



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