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When in Rome

Find unparalleled watch straps, vintage jewelry, ties, socks and tailors.

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Watch Straps: While the watch is widely regarded as a symbol of a man’s worldliness, perhaps not enough attention is paid to the taste displayed by the strap. At Marco Pelle and Mario Di Clemente’s family-run Artigiani e Pellettieri in the backstreets of Rome, old gentlemen spend years treating and refining strap leather. “I love changing my straps,” says Carlos Souza, of Valentino, an ardent watch collector who makes regular trips to the atelier. Bring a watch face, and they will fit it with the leather, goose or alligator strap you choose. Straps start at $50; 15 Via Vittoria; 39-06/361-3402. —Maud Doyle

Vintage Jewelry: It’s no secret that Italians love jewelry—men included—but some of their most prized pieces aren’t shiny and new. “I love looking for vintage items, but the real finds aren’t on Via Condotti; they’re on little side streets, like Via dei Coronari,” says Francesca Leoni, worldwide communications director for Valentino and a former director at Bulgari. On that very street, Leoni found M. di M., a tiny estate-jewelry shop curated by Angelica Magaldi that holds plenty of male-friendly pieces from iconic Italian jewelers, like Bulgari ancient Roman coin pendants from the 1960s and ’70s, Buccellati gold and diamond rings and carved skull rings from Venetian jeweler Attilio Codognato. At 54 Via dei Coronari; 39-06/687-1605. —Shannon Adducci

Ties: Getting creative with ties takes delicate skill; going too far with patterns or colors can be tacky, but even the nicest blue silk tie can look boring. For more adventurous options, our Rome-based contributing editor, Lee Marshall, recommends the menswear shop of Alberto Valentini, in the city’s Centro Storico district. The shop specializes in vintage fabrics from the 1920s to the ’60s, and owner (and Salvador Dalí doppelgänger) Valentini’s designs have just the right amount of eccentricity. Ties start at $100; Vicolo delle Vacche 21; 39-06/6476-0682. —S.A.

Papal Socks: Rome’s pontiffs have a long and bejeweled history in the shock-and-awe approach to fashion, from the gilded Papal Mitre to vivid scarlet and purple socks. Vatican cardinals have visited the cobblestoned streets behind the Pantheon, where haberdasheries like Gammarelli (Via S. Chiara 34; have been tailoring ecclesiastical robes for six generations—that is, since 1789. For those contemporary gentlemen not sworn to the cloth, like Carlos Souza, the global brand ambassador of Valentino, a pair of cardinal purple or red wool socks from Gammarelli or from nearby De Ritis (Via de’ Cestari 48; 39-06/686-5843) adds a splash of rich color to any ensemble. —M.D.

Smart Tailoring: When in Rome, Valentino creative directors Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri recommend their favorite tailor, Franco Masino (Via Belsiana 60;, for elegant suits. When it comes to more formal wear, they suggest Domenico Luzzi (Via del Babbuino 41;, who makes suits strictly for black-tie occasions.

In Naples, Antonio Panico (Via Carducci 29;, a star cutter for Rubinacci in the 1990s, creates commanding, broad-chested suits from heavy vintage fabrics in a crimson-walled studio. For more Neapolitan tailoring, Sartoria Solito (Via Toledo 256; is also worth a visit. —M.D.

See the DEPARTURES Guide to Rome »


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