Campo de' Fiori Market — Photo courtesy of Nicole ArriagaWhether it’s clothes you’re looking for or fresh produce, there’s simply nothing like stepping foot into the very arena where Romans come alive. Ah, yes. Newcomers on the scene will be quick to notice the banter and shouting between merchants and shoppers haggling for those deep discounts.
For those of you unfamiliar to how street markets work, it’s simple. Mercati all’aperto or open air markets typically sell fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, cheeses and fish. These markets are generally open Monday through Saturday from 7:00am until 2:00pm. The most famous market especially among tourists is the market at Campo de’ Fiori.
For the locals, the largest and grandest food market is the Mercato Trionfale located on Via Andrea Doria and Via Tunisi in the Prati area. This market has over 273 stalls. Unlike the rest of the open air markets around town, the Mercato Trionfale is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays until 7pm.
Then of course, there are street markets featuring clothes and accessories. The most popular street markets or mecati delle pulci (flea markets) in Rome are on Via Sannio in the San Giovanni district and the famous Porta Portese market in Trastevere.
The market on Via Sannio is open Monday through Saturday from 7:30am until about 1:30pm and features new and used clothes, handbags, shoes and other accessories. The Porta Portese market has over 900 stalls. It'slocated at Piazza di Porta Portese. The market features new and used clothes, antiques, electronics, souvenirs and just about everything else under the kitchen sink. This market is open only on Sundays between 7:30am until 1:30pm.
As all markets tend to get crowded, especially Porta Portese, it’s smart to be strategic in your timing. If you hate crowds, get there early or show up right before they close. You might even snag a deal or two from vendors trying to make those last-minute sales. It’s also a good idea to bring small bills and/or ’spicci’ (change) with you. It will definitely come in handy when you’re looking for those deep discounts. Lastly, make sure to keep a close eye on your wallet. As with most crowded places, especially Porta Portese, pick pockets tend to be a problem.