The Food Markets of Rome. Though Roman families and young professionals today likely do most of their grocery shopping at the big, budget supermarkets just like the rest of the world, thankfully the Roman food markets are still alive and thriving. It’s here in the marketplaces where you’ll find seasonal produce, such as wild porcini mushrooms or puntarelle greens; the freshest fish brought in from the seaside towns; and a range of cheeses, fresh meats and salamis. Cooks wishing to stray from the traditional Roman ingredients can find international stands selling fresh produce, spices, rice varieties, and even cooking equipment. A visit to each market is a good way to get a glimpse of the character of Rome’s various neighborhoods. So, where to get started? Here’s our list of Rome’s top neighborhood food markets.
Campo de’ Fiori
Campo dei Fiori is the historic market of Rome, where the statue of Giordano Bruno stands as an eternal memory towering above the tents of fruit, vegetables and trinkets destined not only for cooks and housewives, but also for tourists in search of Roman folklore. You can find fruit, vegetables, beans, spices and dried fruits, in addition to flowers, of course. The prices are certainly higher than most neighborhood markets, given its centrality and attraction for tourists.
Piazza Campo de’ Fiori (Historic Center) – Open from 6 to 2pm, Closed on Sundays
There was a time when the farmers’ stands used to be set up on the sides of Piazza Vittorio, arranged in two rows. From 2001, Esquillino became a covered market and it was moved close to the former Sani barracks. The stalls reflect the multiethnic populations of this neighborhood: there are Chinese, Indian, Bangladeshis who sell products to International, Roman, and regional restaurants of Lazio. The halal meat stands are especially popular. Great value and perfect for finding non-italian ingredients, such as Coriander / Cilantro, Chinese spices and vinegars, and south asian fruits and vegetables.
Entrance Via Principe Amedeo/Via Turati/ Via Mamiani/ Via Lamarmora (Esquilino) – Open from 7am – 2pm, Closed on Sundays
A neighborhood market that serves the clients in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods of Rome daily. The market in Via Parioli changed in 2013 when it obtained an exception to the standard hours permitted to most merchants, especially within the enogastronomic sector, and transformed into an aperitivo hangout. Some advice? The San Bartolomeo stand, that offers quality street food, is based primarily on certified-biological and cage-free chicken and turkey raised in the San Bartolomeo organic farm in Vetralla, in the province of Viterbo. San Bartolomeo offers sandwiches stuffed with meats from its butcher stand (bio chicken and turkey) with seasonal vegetables (5 euro). For aperitivo, you must try the chicken wings and fried chicken meatballs (20euro / kg).
Viale Parioli, on the corner of via della Moschea (Parioli) – Open from 6am to 3:30pm, and from 6pm to 10:30pm, Closed on Sundays
If you return to the small piazza, Largo die Volsci, in the morning after a night out wandering the small streets of San Lorenzo, drinking beer from one pub to the next, you can hardly recognize the same places of the night before. The University neighborhood changes face once this market is open, which welcomes you with Giorgio’s flower stand, famous for his primroses and colorful flowers, and Marco Mallozzi’s fish in Box 13.
Largo degli Osci (San Lorenzo) – Open from 7am to 2pm, Closed on Sundays.
Launched in 2008, the covered market in Via Riano is found inside of a shopping center. There used to be about a hundred or so stalls lined up in the traffic divider of the Tor di Quinto road, but now just under half remain. But even so, its still worth it to go here to do the grocery shopping– especially for the norwegian cod from Roberto Felicetti‘s stall, and for typical Sardinian products.
Via Riano (Ponte Milvio) – Open from 7am to 2pm, Closed Sundays
The Piazza Epiro market, also known as the “Latin” Market, has 56 stands inside of a structure that is undoubtedly modern in style, where fruit and vegetable stalls live side by side vacuum and sewing-equipment shops. Around here, until recently, you could spot “Er Pupone” Francesco Totti, of Porta Metronia. In boxes 25-26 is Formaggeria-Salumeria Francesco (www.francescoloreti.it), an institution amongst delis. In the winter, one can find nearly 140 types of cheeses from all over Italy.
Piazza Epiro 183 (San Giovanni) – Open from 7am to 2pm, from Monday to Saturday, and until 7:30pm Friday and Saturday. Closed Sundays.
The sensation that the stalls transmit in this open air market of Piazza San Cosimato in the heart of Trastevere, is that of the Roman figure who is resistant to everyone and everything. Beside the playground for the little ones, here it is possible to find seasonal fruits and vegetables, from puntarelle (a late fall chicory) to broccolini, sought-after meats, cheeses, and fresh fish. Who are market-goers? Families from Trastevere in search of a “human” contact and quality products, and tourists who pass through the center.
Piazza San Cosimato (Trastevere) – Open from 7am to 2pm. Closed on Sundays
With its 273 stalls in a two-storied building, the Trionfale Market is the biggest in Rome. Maybe even too big, for those who don’t have much time to dedicate to checking out the stalls and risk to get lost amongst the vegetables, meats, breads, gastronomic goodies, and even clothing and home goods. On the ground floor, in the back, you’ll find the farmer’s area with seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you walk around to the upper floor and you notice a line at a certain fish stand, you have arrived to the Pescheria Duca. Fresh, quality fish make the slightly high prices worth it. In box 1, on the other hand, there is Pescheria Valentino, where the fresh seafood salad is amongst the most popular products.
Via Andrea Doria 3 (Trionfale) – Open from 7am to 14pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, until 19 on Tuesday and Friday. Closed Sundays
Looking at it from the outside, in front of the former slaughterhouse, it seems to be a shopping mall: one of those gigantic places that make you anxious just looking at it. It is the New Market of Testaccio, which opened in June of 2012 after the controversies following the closure of the historic space in Piazza Testaccio. The architecture clashes a bit with the popular spirit of the neighborhood, but enough– take a stroll around the stands to find the Roman spirt of times past. For example, the panini of Sergio Esposito and the Signora in box 15, who have already grabbed the attention of notable enthusiastics and less-notables (amongst the first, Jonathan Nossiter) and of foreign foodies (see Gina Tringali and Katie Parla). The offerings include paninis with “Allesso” (meat strictly from the female cow who has never been pregnant and is less than 16 months old); veal scaloppine in white wine; sautéed chicory with cubes of veal; and mushrooms with “Allesso” picchiapò, slowly simmered in tomato sauce and broth.
Via Galvani (Testaccio) – Open from 6am to 3pm from Monday to Saturday, Closed on Sundays
Metronio San Giovanni
An architectural work of art that’s still valid or simply a building ready to be torn down? While there is still debate on the future of this structure on Via Magna Grecia— designed by Roman engineer Riccardo Morandi in the 70’s to resemble the form of a tooth with many coiling garage ramps– the residents of the neighborhood continue to do their grocery shopping in the stands of this covered market. Just like the one at Macro, that has biodynamic agricultural products (only seasonal fruits and vegetables cultivated in sustainable methods) or the real chianina doc. beef from Fabrizio and Antonio in box 135.
Via Magna Grecia (San Giovanni) – Open from 7am to 3pm Monday to Saturday. Closed Sundays