Make believe you’re in Rome
The shopping. The art. The food. Here’s where to taste la dolce vita in Boston.
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Begin at this candy shop tucked away on the second floor right before the bypass that connects the Westin Copley Boston to Copley Place. Gourmet Boutique (10 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 617-266-2906, gourmetboutique.net) carries a wide range of European sweets you’d find at any Italian tabaccaio or airport duty-free shop; stock up on all the Venchi, Amedei, and Kinder you can carry.
Boston may not have the Spanish Steps, but the designer storefronts in Back Bay look mighty similar to their Roman sister stores. Max Mara, Valentino, Pratesi, and Giorgio Armani all call Newbury Street home, while Gucci and Frette are located on Boylston.
> Max Mara, 69 Newbury Street, 617-267-9775
> Valentino, 47 Newbury Street, 617-578-0300
> Pratesi, 110 Newbury Street, 617-262-5998
> Giorgio Armani, 22 Newbury Street, 617-267-3200
> Gucci, 800 Boylston Street, 617-247-3000
> Frette, 776B Boylston Street, 617-267-0500
You can also find little luxuries at lower prices — even a staycation warrants a souvenir. Sermoneta Gloves (115 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-284-7788, sermonetagloves.com), a Rome-based brand that originated in the ’60s, carries a wide range of meticulously crafted mitts for men and women. Italy’s olive oil crop is typically crushed in November and December, and Boston Olive Oil Company (262 Newbury Street, Boston, 857-277-0007, bostonoliveoilcompany.com) is awaiting a shipment from that new crop. In addition to the three new Italian oils expected in February — they’re coming by boat — the shop has 22 different balsamic vinegars and offers free tastings of both oils and vinegars every day.
Harvard Stadium (65 North Harvard Street, Allston) is Boston’s answer to the Roman Colosseum or Circus Maximus — but on this side of the Atlantic, it’s still possible to get a workout on the stadium stairs. Visit this stunning facility, open to both Crimson and recreational athletes every day except when there are games, for a challenging session that’s easy on the eyes.
Slow down at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 617-267-9300, mfa.org) and take a look at the city’s preserved past on a smaller scale. Must sees: the Capitoline Brutus, a bronze bust on loan through May 1 from Rome’s Palazzo dei Conservatori/Capitoline Museum, and the ancient baubles in the museum’s newest jewelry gallery, Gems and Jewelry from the Ancient Mediterranean.
Rome is sprinkled with artisan stationery studios, but in Brookline, you don’t just happen upon them quite so often. Rome native Angela Liguori sells, by appointment (617-730-3788, angelaliguori.com), a charming selection of handcrafted stationery and books, plus specialty Italian ribbons, vintage stamps, and other extras.
Sunday dinner remains a tradition in Rome. To prepare yours, shop for a feast with family and friends on a trip to the North End. You’ll find local as well as imported ingredients, including a selection of more than 50 pastas at DePasquale’s Homemade Pasta Shoppe (66A Cross Street, Boston, 617-248-9629, homemade-pasta.com ) and sweet or hot soppressata and sliced prosciutto at Salumeria Italiana (151 Richmond Street, Boston, 617-523-8743, salumeriaitaliana.com).
Head north of town — it’s worth the trip — to one of three Dolce Freddo Gelato locations (300 Merrimack Street, Methuen, 978-686-1822; 38 Market Square, Newburyport, 978-462-1002; and 90B Fleet Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, 603-373-8886; dfgelato.com), where Italy native Andrea Rossetto serves 60-plus flavors of the creamy confection year-round. Customer favorites include bacio (chocolate hazelnut) and stracciatella (vanilla with shards of chocolate), and are made in-house using Italian machinery. Bring some home in insulated containers (eight scoops for $9.99 or 16 for $17.50) that Rossetto says will withstand even the summer heat for up to an hour.
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