Why not live like a local while you’re in Rome, and head to one of many markets across the city for a little food, clothing or antique shopping? And especially if you're staying in an apartment while in town and feel like staying in to cook an Italian meal, head to the local market like Romans do for all your fresh produce.
Markets (il mercato, in Italian) are a lively and colorful addition to Rome’s city fabric. Historically and to this day, each neighborhood in the city boasts its own fresh food market. While nowadays some are a mere reflection of what they used to be, they still remain a place to gather and where you can see, taste and smell community spirit.
They provide a real snapshot into the life of local Roman traders. In fact, nothing is more entertaining than the jovial interaction between stall holders, butchers or fish mongers (all in a tirade of beautiful Roman dialect, or Romanaccio)
Handmade jewelry at Mercato Monti — Photo courtesy of HeartRome
Whether it’s fresh fruit and vegetables you’re after, antiques or a classic print of Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn on the Spanish Steps, you’ll soon find a market in Rome to suit.
Campo de’ Fiori
Rome’s oldest market is held in Campo de’ Fiori, right in the center of the city. Romans have been buying their fish, fresh fruit and vegetables, spices, tablecloths and toys since the market moved to this location from Piazza Navona in 1869!
The market is on daily, with the exception of Sunday, from early morning until about 2 p.m.
Rome’s main flea market is held every Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. behind Trastevere at Via Portuense and Via Ippolito Nievo. Being a flea market, it’s a bit of a mishmash of everything, including used (and sometimes stolen!) goods, new and used clothes, antiques and homewares.
And be prepared to barter: you can get yourself a real bargain here.
Porta Portese is great for vintage goods — Photo courtesy of HeartRome
Even though it’s no longer open air (It’s in a more permanent market structure.), most of the vendors have been selling their ware at the new undercover Testaccio market for generations. It’s the heart of Roman neighborhood life.
If you’re staying in an apartment while in Rome, head here for all your cooking needs. You’ll find greengrocers and butchers, fishmongers and delicatessens selling all kinds of cheese and salumi. There are clothes, books, shoes and homeware, too.
Testaccio's open daily except Sundays until about 1 p.m.
Located in Monti – the bohemian or hipster part of town – Mercato Monti is an undercover vintage market where you can find anything from clothes and jewelry to handmade leather shoes and handbags made from recycled goods.
It's open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends only.
Located in Via Sannio, this market is predominantly a clothes market, but you’ll also find linen and outdoor materials here. It's open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, except on Sundays.
Oh, and when you’re done, be sure to visit the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, which is just around the corner from San Giovanni.
Note: Even though some of these markets aren’t in main tourist areas, pickpockets still work the circuit here. You should always watch your wallet while at any market in Rome.
But don't get paranoid. Remember to have fun while you shop the city's local, one-of-a-kind markets!