My mother and grandmother had a penchant for handbags. I blame them. I have my grandmother’s crocodile bag from the 1940s. It’s looking a little sad now but occasionally I use it. And I have one of my mother’s evening bags from the 1940s and a vintage bag she was using (which I bought for her 90th birthday).

I have my own collection and a few bags I’ve had since my 20s (which was about 70 years ago). I tend to favour one handbag for months on end, then suddenly, that’s it…swap. I did tell hubs I was going to buy a handbag or two in Rome. And most likely a Mandarina Duck. I love Mandarina Duck bags. I have their bowling bag in red leather. I bought this at some staggering price back in Oz and it’s described as being “designed for dynamic women who want to be confidently elegant at all times.” Okay, yeah! I also have a red mandarina duck wallet and both the bag and wallet are much loved and used. My great mate gave me a gorgeous blue Mandarina Duck for a certain birthday. And she has a red Duck that I think she’s been using for about two years now. So, naturally I thought I’d get another Duck. After all, Mandarina Duck has amazing sales here at the moment. So I popped into one of their shops but none of the bags did it for me.

I wish I could tell you where I bought one of the bags I’m about to show you but I didn’t save the wrapping. And there are SO many fantastic shops that sell handbags here, I can’t even remotely remember. Anyway, when I spotted the white Krizia bag, it was love at first sight. It’s a signature collection bag, made in Italy, but I forget the exact name of it. It cost 55 Euro (with 30% off and bargaining knocked off another 10 Euro) or around NZ $95.00 Here’s the funny thing – when I was in my 20s, I used to wear Krizia perfume, so I figured I’d try and get it here. Nope, can’t get it. And Krizia is an Italian fashion house. Odd.

The other bag will be an all-time favourite – the photo doesn’t do it justice. It comes from my favourite shop of the moment – Edith B, Via dei Due Macelli 62a. This shop has gorgeous handbags and costume jewellery. I spotted the bag in the window about two weeks ago and, on my jaunts around Rome, seemed to end up passing the shop again and again. Obviously a sign! It’s a bag by Giudit and is in a beautiful stone colour, which will be very wearable. Giudit bags are made in Florence so the shop lady told me. It has that wonderful smell of real leather – in fact, that’s the smell you notice when you walk into most handbag shops in Rome. The bag cost a bit more than I wanted to pay, even with 30% sale discount – 98.70 Euro or NZ$169.00 – but I can guarantee that I’ll get years of use out of it. Imagine the cost of this bag in Oz or NZ.

When my mate arrives in mid-September, we’ll check out the Mandarina Duck shops and I plan to suss out Alviero Martini bags. He’s well-known for his world map handbags. I hope I’m not going to have to buy another suitcase just to lug home handbags.

Krizia logo handbag.

Stone-coloured Italian leather handbag by Giudit – Made in Italy.

There’s the bag in the middle of Edith B’s window a couple of weeks ago.