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There is no better place to experience the freshness of tomatoes, artichokes, zucchini, locally produced cheese, harvested truffles, and fresh-pressed olive oil than in the local markets of Rome. It’s no wonder this city has so many food tours, even the simplest of grocery list items taste so indulgent. Italy’s secret is fresh, local and seasonal variety. I mean, you wouldn’t believe how juicy and flavorful tomatoes are during its’ seasonal summer months or the richness of roasted porcini mushrooms in the fall. It’s truly something that has to be savored and experienced to really do it justice, and Rome’s local markets are the perfect place to explore the city’s flavors.
My best advice for experiencing Rome’s local food culture is to head to one of the neighborhood food markets and pick up a generous helping of seasonal produce, cured meats, freshly baked bread, an assortment of cheeses, locally produced honey, truffle spreads or olive oil, and a good bottle of wine. Be sure to chat with the vendors to gain insight on where the products come from, how they are made, and even a bit about of the shop’s history. Then, make your way to one of Rome’s parks, such as Villa Borghese, Villa Doria Pamphili, Giancolo, Giardino degli Aranci (Aventine Hill), or Villa Ada, and set up an epic Italian picnic.
BEST FOOD MARKETS IN ROME
Campo de’ Fiori Mercato, Piazza Campo de’ Fiori
Monday-Saturday 7AM – 2PM
Campo de’ Fiori is located in the center of Rome, and probably the most well known of the city’s markets. The daily rotation of produce, cheese, cured meat, spice, and floral vendors have been setting up shop since 1869 surrounding the statue of Giordano Bruno. Rich in both history and tradition, this market is a great place dive into local flavors. Also, be sure to stop into Il Forno, a local bakery just in the corner of Campo de’ Fiori, for some of their freshly baked bread, dolci (sweets), an assortment of panini (sandwiches), and pizza bianca (pizza without sauce or cheese – it’s amazing).
Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio, Via Beniamino Franklin
Monday – Saturday 7AM – 3:30PM
Head a bit outside of Centro Storico (Historical Center) to the local neighborhood of Testaccio for a visit to the market’s new location. The collection of 40 plus vendors is still a common gathering place for locals to pay a visit to their favorite butchers and organic produce retailers, stop in for some amazing prepared foods at lunchtime, or even do a bit of boutique shopping. This unique marketplace is considered a neighborhood one-stop-shop, no wonder it’s a Roman favorite. If nothing else, be sure to add it to your itinerary for the chance to satisfy your tastebuds with a sandwich at Mordi e Vai, their creations are truly a neighborhood delicacy. And for something sweet afterward, Dess’Art serves up some incredible Sicilian style desserts.
Mercato di Cosimato, Piazza di S. Cosimato, 64
Monday – Saturday 6:30AM – 2:30PM
For a local experience in the eclectic quartiere of Trastevere, do a bit of food shopping at this open-air market. Wander amongst locals from vendor to vendor, mouthwatering over the colorful arrangement of seasonal fruits and vegetables, overwhelming selections of meats and cheeses, and aromatic baked goods. Once you’ve purchased your assortment, make your way through Trastevere’s winding, ivy-covered vicoli (small streets) towards the top of Giancolo Hill, where you can indulge in your market finds while enjoying one of the best viewpoints in Rome.