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Rome: Returning to Eternal City (Trip Report & Photos)

sloaney

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I returned to Rome again this weekend ( see previous thread: http://www.styleforum.net/showthread.php?t=29005 ), and had a wonderful time all over again. I hope you enjoy the brief report (lots of incorrect spelling and grammar - I'm posting in a hurry) and photos that follow.

St Regis Grand. I never stopped marvelling at the magnificence of this hotel. This weekend, a large group was in the hotel -- top-producing dealers for Cub Cadet ( http://www.cubcadet.com ), "the leader in premium outdoor power equipment, we deliver on that promise each and every day. When you buy Cub Cadet outdoor power equipment you know that you are buying equipment that is built tougher, built smarter, built better." I ran into a very friendly couple and had a pleasant chat. Another couple I ran into decided that they had to be Serious and not smile because they were in a grand hotel. I'm sure most people in the group were nice people, but they were not well dressed (sweaters, jeans, sneakers). I was checked in by the same person to a corner suite on the top floor, #416. The cozy suite was nice to have as a complimentary upgrade, but would probably be not worth the increased cost over one of their Imperial rooms, which I occupied last weekend.

suite416ks8.jpg



Mimmo Siviglia. I tried on my sample shirt and, as usual, enjoyed the discussion with Mimmo and Francesca about fit, shirtmaking techniques. I selected a few more fabrics. Once again, Francesca's husband came at the end of the appointment; they closed the store for the day, drove me to one of their favourite restaurants and introduced me to the owner. The restaurant was tiny and the boss was also the cook. And the pasta was delicious. Here is a photo of the Mimmo Siviglia atelier from the outside, which does not do justice to its actual beauty.

mimmostorefrontdc0.jpg



Battistoni. I found this almost by accident. The best way to describe Battistoni is the Charvet of Italy. Traditional gentlemen's haberdashery, enjoying patronage from royals and the superwealthy. High quality goods, but I was still underwhelemed. I think it was the all-too-serious attitude once again that bothered me. If you were a duke, they might open the door for you; if you were a prince, possibly a smile. I suppose the great marketing idea here, as is the case in all snob stores, is that they'll treat you like you aren't worth anything at first, so -- there's no other way to say it -- you feel compelled to buy something to prove to them that you're not poor or just soaking up the store's atmosphere. Amazingly, this technique worked on me, but I won't be returning to Battistoni in the future. Custom shirts, EUR 350 per shirt, 3 order minimum, sample shirt ready in 3-4 days.

battistonicc5.jpg


battistonipurchasescv9.jpg



Rubinacci. If Battistoni was thristy for royal blood, Rubinacci was hungry for black gold. Didn't like the atmosphere in the store, glitzy and very new money. Again, you are almost not buying products here, you are buying the respect of the salespeople. Custom shirts at EUR250, no minimum order, usually no sample shirt for overseas customers.

rubinacciyo1.jpg



Pellicani. A small shop carrying RTW ties and MTM ties near the Pantheon. I bought one just for the fun of it but personally can't see the value proposition of a made-to-measure tie. Owner would rather not be bothered, frankly. I'm surprised how badly one can be treated at so many of these stores in Rome.

MTM tie at EUR 90 incl shipping.

pellicanistorefrontao7.jpg


pellicanirh1.jpg



Il Papiro. Charming stationery store near the Trevi Fountains. Nice lady shopkeeper. 10 pieces of cotton correspondence cards with matching envelopes, hand-engraved, for EUR 22.50.

ilpappiroexteriorwi1.jpg



Some photos to end this thread....


colloseum2kb2.jpg


taxofficepo2.jpg


policehq0.jpg

La Dolce Vita.... a truly carefree life in Rome.
 

skalogre

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Great pics again, thanks. I cannot believe I have never dragged my arse to La Bella Citta (I am sure my grammar there was awful
blush.gif
)...
 

sloaney

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Originally Posted by kronik
Do you happen to speak Italian?

Why do you ask?
Does that affect the level of service?

I know a couple of words
smile.gif

Prego
Grazie
Si
Su Misura (very important phrase)
Bellisimo

I'd really like to learn.

St Regis Grand, Mimmo Siviglia and Salvatore Ferragamo treat me very well and that's why I go back to them again.
 

kronik

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Actually, that's exactly why I was asking. You seemed to have an overall unimpressive service level at the stores.. I don't speak it either, but I did plan to head to Rome eventually, and bad customer service usually deters me from purchasing anything. I don't subscribe to the whole "proving anything to salesmen" theory. If they don't want my money, they can kiss me balls.
 

itsstillmatt

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I am sorry to hear that the Romans treated you shabbily. That has never been my experience there. Perhaps it was a bad day all around in Rome.
 

Luc-Emmanuel

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Originally Posted by iammatt
I am sorry to hear that the Romans treated you shabbily. That has never been my experience there. Perhaps it was a bad day all around in Rome.
must be all that 'new money'.
devil.gif
!luc
 

sloaney

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Originally Posted by iammatt
I am sorry to hear that the Romans treated you shabbily. That has never been my experience there. Perhaps it was a bad day all around in Rome.

I think this is not universal, the bad attitude seemed to be confined to upscale stores. I had good experience with Alitalia, the hotel, restaurants, etc.
 

itsstillmatt

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Originally Posted by Luc-Emmanuel
must be all that 'new money'.
devil.gif
!luc

I thought Sloanies were old money.
devil.gif
FWIW, Rubinacci has been called many things, not all of them good, but he may never have heard "glitzy" before.
 

Luc-Emmanuel

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I've never receieved anything but impeccable service from Charvet in Paris. Even when I went there to buy a tie and a few pair of socks.

!luc
 

itsstillmatt

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Originally Posted by Luc-Emmanuel
I've never receieved anything but impeccable service from Charvet in Paris. Even when I went there to buy a tie and a few pair of socks. !luc
I agree. It is the rest of you damn Parisians who are so rude
devil.gif
devil.gif
. Seriously, I have never been treated anything but well in any higher end boutique in any city that I can remember. The only exception may have been Oxxford in NY, but they were more pushy salesman than rude.
 

dkzzzz

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Snobbery of sales people never bothered me. It is amusing. They are SALES people. They don't make as much as I make they don't live as well as I live...
So I don't pay too much attention to their inferiority complexes.
To me sales person is a disposable item I use him/her for information and to ring the register and that is extend of my interaction with them. I actually prefer them to be cold and aloof. Perhaps it is just my personality. I hate when people open the door for me and give me a big fake smile and then try to be my fiends for 15 minutes.
smile.gif
)

Sorry for the rant.

Great report and pics. Very appreciated.
 

epa

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I do not like unfriendly salespeople. I like salespeople to be friendly. Actually, I normally prefer it when people are friendly to me. I do not ask for fake smiles, but I expect to be treated nicely when I pay.
Some months ago I was considering trying a new tailor, but the guy seemed so bloody snobbish that I decided to stay with my current one.
At Zegna and Bally here in town they have very nice salespeople who also let me bring my shabby dogs into the store. They are nice doggies, but they are definitely no "high-end" dogs...
The thing is that I enjoy shopping, and if the salespeople are not friendly, then shopping will be less fun.
 

Patrick Bateman

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Originally Posted by epa
At Zegna and Bally here in town they have very nice salespeople who also let me bring my shabby dogs into the store. They are nice doggies, but they are definitely no "high-end" dogs...
You seem like a nice guy, but...the practice of bringing these animals into high-end stores is infuriating to some people.

sloaney, thanks for the great report! It's too bad you received such varying levels of service. How did the Rubbinacci shirts compare to Battistoni?
 

sloaney

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I don't think my experience is a reflection of Romans in general or a reflection of Italians treating non-Italian speaking foreigners. I think bad attitude is an issue that afflicts many clubby snobby upscale stores. I've had my share in New York and London as well. I was in Asia recently and was IGNORED at the Ferragamo store, the three attendants were fawning over an older person and his trophy husband. Well, I walked into Dunhill next door and purchased a bag in 5 minutes, because I liked the salesperson and he seemed genuinely friendly.

I think it might have to do with my age as well. I'm in my mid twenties. My experience at St. Regis: I asked the very kind gentleman who checked me in and showed me to my room how long he has been working for the hotel, and he said seven years. I told him three years ago I was still in college. And then I realized it was a really bad thing to say, as this must have been a bit hard to accept for him that I was spending money this way at such an age.... and he was even quiet for a while, and then confessed that he went on and off college because he found it hard to juggle work and study at the same time. But he continued to be extremely attentive to me, even greeting me at the breakfast table the next day. I left him a nice tip when I checked out, and will write a letter to the hotel GM to commend this gentleman's kind hospitality.

Maybe one day my position will be reversed and I will be the old man serving the young yuppie, who knows, maybe even his son.
 

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