Not just any Zara store, this Zara, the biggest in the world outside of those in Barcelona and Athens, commands five separate levels. It's in the Palazzo Bocconi, a gorgeous structure built smack on Via del Corso in the 1880s. And it's (relatively) eco-friendly, using 30 percent less energy and 70 percent less water than comparably-sized stores.
All of that makes 189 Via del Corso a pretty sweet stop for any Zara lover. But, as much as my jaw dropped, just a little bit, to see a store this slick and this big in little old Rome, it also made me a little sad. Let's be honest: There had to be some transformation that went along with putting a multinational chain in a 120-year-old palazzo. Preservationists' tears might be mitigated by the fact that, before, the palazzo was home to La Rinascente — the department store — but still. Yet another chain isn't exactly helping Rome's struggling artisans.
Ah, well. If you're going to go — to Zara or any other Rome shop (including local artisans!) — go now. The saldi end on February 15.