Your Fairytale Italian Wedding Dress

When I was getting married I still lived in England, so naturally I started my search for a dress there, but with no success. When one of the bridal boutique managers asked me what look I was after, and I replied ‘Baroque’, she looked deflated and said that the UK tendency that year was towards smooth lines and minimal. We were both disappointed. Me because I realised that finding my dream dress was going to be harder than I though, and she because she wasn’t going to make a sale – not from me anyway.

So, I waited until I’d actually moved to Italy and began my mission to find the most stressful dress of my life, in and around Rome. To my great relief I was spoilt for choice. Italians do ‘fancy’ so well that I could have bought 3 or 4 dresses quite easily and my husband-to-be also had success with his attire.

Well, our 10th wedding anniversary has been and gone but I felt inspired to list out some of the places that have beautiful ornate wedding gowns for all budgets in the hope that it will help take some of the stress out and increase the divertimento!

A number of bridal atelier are by appointment only but most people in the fashion world speak English nowadays so language shouldn’t be a barrier. Another great place to start is at the Wedding Fair – Roma Sposa. It’s a huge deal with stands for wedding gowns, menswear, limos and wedding car hire, wedding venues, the dreaded “bomboniere” plus a host of other things for your special day.

I should explain, if you don’t already know, bomboniere are gifts (usually of value) that the “bride and groom-to-be” give to the most important members of family or close friends. We almost went insane trying to find something that we actually wanted to give – but that’s another story.

This year (18 – 21 October, 2018) the Roma Sposa event has moved from the Fiera di Rome to EUR’s Palazzo dei Congressi and looks set to be one of the best editions yet.

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If you have access to a car you might want to head out of the city to some of the mega-bridal stores in the suburbs. The dresses are no less worthy and because these stores are basically warehouses you get a huge choice at both ends of the price scale. I liked Radiosa (especially since they carry the Spanish Pronovias line) about 30 minutes from Rome in Aprilia. It has everything you could possibly need: gowns, accessories, footwear, outfits for the mother of the bride, groom’s department, etc. Then there’s Davino Sposa in Ciampino town which offers outlet prices on some of its stock.

In Rome centre, try smaller boutiques such as The Woman in White, Elvira Gramano, Marsil Alta Moda, Alessandro Angelozzi, Miriam Pieralisi…

So that’s it. Short & sweet. Best of luck!

Contemporary Art in Rome

The “Old Masters” are well-covered in the Eternal City – but when it comes to contemporary art it’s perhaps not as easy to know where to go to purchase something from emerging or lesser-known artists, so I’ve been exploring some small galleries, which are definitely worth a look.

Starting in the Monti district – often described as “cool” or “arty” and popular with a younger crowd (when I first came to live in Rome I had an apartment here and spent a lot of time enjoying the area) – there is a high concentration of small galleries tucked away between independent boutiques, bars, restaurants and attractive buildings with hanging plants and flowers. Even if art isn’t your thing, it’s an intriguing zone to wander around.

So first up is SCRIPANTE GALLERY on Via Panisperna. The venue is very laid back, with a small bar serving cocktails from 6pm – 2am, or slightly earlier if all you want is a cold beer.

MAXIMA GALLERY on Via Agostino Depretis, currently has some challenging pieces of both sculpture and wall art.

GALLERIA CHIARI on Via Napoli had some tempting items. I couldn’t find a website but they seem to be closed at weekends and on national holidays.

In the area between the American Embassy and the British Embassy I found ROSSO CINABRO on Via Raffaele Cadorna, in the district known as Sallustiana. They exhibit work by figurative and abstract artists, photographers, digital artists and sculptors.

FRANCESCA ANTONINI not far from Piazza Barberini, has some nice work. I personally like Alessandra Giovannoni, born and working in  Rome, plus several other Italian artists.

If you’re an artist looking for somewhere to exhibit your own work, take a look at some of the links below:

NVMEN not far from the Colosseum.

MAKEMAKE in the Monti district towards the Roman Forum end.

If you’re looking for a Fine Art workshop vacation you might be interested in a company called THE VISIONARY PROJECTS, who run other kinds of courses around the world. They’re running a course early May with one spot left.


These are just a few from one or two areas of the city, with more to be added as I get chance.