Why do we travel to Italy? Architecture? Art? That, too, but let’s face it, some treats of Italian culinary tradition are as inspiring as the Colosseum. With each neighbourhood basting its own character, the food markets in Rome reflect the nature and personality of their rione.
Fresh seasonal produce, spices, fragrant bread and pastries, sauces and anything else you can think of, take a walk around these great Rome food markets and linger in some delicious souvenir shopping.
Foodies will also love my eBook “Tasting Rome by Neighbourhood” where I suggest five daily itineraries in as many neighbourhoods listing the best restaurants, eateries and coffee shops where to have all the meals of the day, from breakfast to dinner, with some aperitif or sweet snack stop. The itineraries also include the top places to visit in each of the Rome neighbourhoods, so you will explore the city and stop to eat in the best restaurants along the way.
The best food markets in Rome
1. Mercato Trionfale, huge food market in Rome’s Rione Prati
One of the historical food markets in Rome, 19th-century Mercato Trionfale was recently renovated. Initially the open market of Rome’s Viale Giulio Cesare and Via Andrea Doria, in 2009 its stalls were moved to the brand-new covered complex still in Via Doria.
One of the favourite food markets in Rome’s Rione Prati, this Nuovo Mercato Trionfale sees a good combination of locals and those holidaymakers who prefer homestays in Rome rather than hotels to take advantage of their vacation to try Italian fresh produce as much and as authentically as they can.
The enticing stalls of Mercato Trionfale will lure all your senses in. Enjoy the fresh buffalo mozzarella from Naples, bright fruits and veggies, some exotic treats like mangoes and avocados, freshly baked bread, pizza, focaccia and cakes, as well as fish and meat offers. There are also some organic stalls selling all the products for vegans and vegetarians.
Address of Mercato Trionfale: Via Andrea Doria 3, a 10-minute walk from Ottaviano metro station. Paid parking in the basement.
Opening hours of Mercato Trionfale: Mon-Sat 7 am-2 pm (Tuesday and Friday to 7 pm).
2. Mercato Campo de’ Fiori, the food market in the shade of Giordano Bruno
Definitely the most touristy among Rome food markets, the colourful stalls of Mercato di Campo de’ Fiori are laid out every day in the shade of Giordano Bruno’s imposing statue, the Italian philosopher burned at the stake right in this piazza by the Holy Inquisition.
At night, Campo de’ Fiori is a popular hangout place for young people who like to enjoy their dinner, drink or sheesha al fresco, but during the day the market is the real star of the show. A burst of colours, fragrances and sellers’ shouting are the background of your shopping day.
Here you can find anything from fresh fruits and veggies to pasta, also the flavoured one, sauces, dips such as olives, artichokes or truffles, oils, mixed herbs for salad dressing or making sauces, as well as pans, Moka coffee machines, small kitchen appliances and even clothes.
Enjoy your Italian shopping spree sampling the delicious treats to make your sound choice before heading to the next stop of your Rome sightseeing.
Address of Mercato di Campo de’ Fiori: Piazza Campo de’ Fiori.
Opening hours of Mercato di Campo de’ Fiori: Mon-Sun 7 am- 3 pm.
Extra tip: Close to Campo de’ Fiori is the delicious Sham Syrian-Lebanese restaurant. Find their great offers on Groupon for lunch and dinner.
3. Mercato Testaccio, the working-class, authentic Rome food stalls
This is a great market in Rome located in a great neighbourhood. I love Rione Testaccio and I come here whenever I have the opportunity. Former working-class district, even though now Testaccio is pretty trendy, it retained its authentic middle-class spirit, and one of the best places to see this is its local market.
Here you can buy fresh fruits and veggies, different types of bread, cold cuts, cheese as well as cooked meals, sandwiches and cakes and pastries from many Italian regions.
Close to several landmarks, especially some unusual places to visit in Rome, you can stop at Mercato Testaccio for both your grocery shopping and a quick tasty bite for lunch before resuming your sightseeing.
Address of Mercato Testaccio: Enter from Via Galvani, Via Franklin, Via Manuzio and Via Ghiberti. Easy to reach with the metro (Piramide, line B) and by bus (83), if you decide to get there by car, there is an underground parking space.
Opening hours of Mercato Testaccio: Mon-Sat 6 am-3 pm.
4. Mercato dell’Unità, Rome food market in the shopping hub
Located close to shopping street Via Cola di Rienzo, Mercato dell’Unità is a stone’s throw from the Vatican. Built in 1928 in neo-classic style, the complex hosting this market comes with a large, heavy gate and sleek towers at the corners of the building.
Before WWII, so in the ’30s, the market was an important hub for the local economy and part of its appeal was the setup of a skating rink on the roof, a favourite place for leisure until the outbreak of the devastating war.
In the ’20s, the market took place all along the main street Via Cola di Rienzo, while after the opening of the new building, it was laid out over two floors, including the basement where now is the parking space. Today there are some 30 stalls and you can find fresh fruits and veggies, cheese and cold cuts, a fish stall where you can buy the fresh fish or original seafood dishes such as prawn lasagna and squid salad. Mercato dell’Unità also hosts a small bookshop with books of Italian recipes, wellness and travel.
Being in the city centre and close to the Vatican, it’s easy to find it pretty crowded. It’s a great place, however, to grab a quick and cheap bite on-the-go or your grocery if you booked a homestay instead of a hotel.
Address of Mercato dell’Unità: Piazza dell’Unità 53.
Opening hours of Mercato dell’Unità: Mon-Sat 6.30 am-7.30 pm.
5. Nuovo Mercato Esquilino, multicultural food markets in Rome
This is Rome’s multi-cultural neighbourhood and its Nuovo Mercato Esquilino perfectly reflects that.
Originally laid out around Piazza Vittorio, the old farmers’ market was built in the late 19th century near the busy Termini train station. Meant to be a stop for passing visitors in one of the most crucial hubs of the city, the market throve during the Fascism and managed to survive WWII.
It was an open-market until September 15th, 2001, when it was moved indoors in the premises of the old Sana prison, where we find it today.
Alongside the regular fruits and veggie stalls, at Esquilino Rome market you can find products and ingredients for dishes from around the world. A wide selection of Indian curries, Pakistani rice, Chinese noodles, tofu and cabbage, South American roots such as yucca and manioca, as well as several tropical fruits such as avocado, mango and papaya, a huge choice of herbs from the very Italian parsley and basil to the more foreign coriander.
Being close to the basilicas of Santa Maria Maggiore, Santa Prassede and Santa Pudenziana, great places to admire religious mosaics, if you stop here for lunch you will be spoilt for choice. Side by side with Roman trattorias, you will find Indian fast food and Chinese restaurants.
Address of Nuovo Mercato Esquilino: Via Principe Amedeo 184. Entrances in Via Principe Amedeo, Via Mamiani, Via Turati and Via Lamarmora. Easy to reach by metro (Vittorio Emanuele, line A).
Opening hours of Nuovo Mercato Esquilino: Mon-Sat 5 am-3 pm, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday to 5 pm.
6. Mercato Contadino di Circo Massimo
The Circus Maximus farmers’ market originally was the Jewish fish market because in the Middle Ages fishing boats from Ostia docked here to sell the parts for the Roman fish soup.
In this market, you will find only organic fruits and veggies, nuts, beans, jams, honey and anything you can think of strictly coming from local producers. There are also the stands with fresh fish, wines, cheese and bread.
You can even stay here for lunch as each week there is a different offer of ready meals, very affordable, very genuine, ranging from soups, pasta with ragù sauce, meat and veggies. All served with a glass of wine, water and bread.
Address of Mercato Contadino di Circo Massimo: Via San Teodoro 74. You can get here by metro (Colosseo and Circo Massimo, line B), or by bus (95, 160, 170).
Opening hours of Mercato Contadino di Circo Massimo: Saturday and Sunday 9 am-4 pm.
7. Biomercato alla Città dell’Altra Economia, the artisan food market in Rome
Local producers and artisans are the stars of this covered market in Testaccio neighbourhood. The stalls of locally-sourced fruits and veggies sit by stands of cakes and pastries, ice cream, open shops of bags, necklaces and even ceramics.
While wandering the lanes of this market, you can have your lunch at the organic restaurant set in the open area of the market.
Address of Biomercato: Largo Dino Frisullo. Get there by bus (673, 781) or by metro (Piramide, line B).
Opening hours of Biomercato: Sunday (sometimes also Saturday) 9 am-5 pm.
8. Mercato San Cosimato
Being in the popular Trastevere neighbourhood, Mercato San Cosimato is always packed with locals as well as tourists and expats.
Created with a resolution from the local municipality in 1913, the first thing you will see from this market will be its luscious fruits and veggie stalls. Here you will find products from all Italian regions but especially from Rome and surroundings, known in Italy as Km-zero (locally-sourced) seasonal produce, as well as meat and fish.
This market is in the popular Trastevere, so very likely you will stumble on it while sightseeing. You can do here your grocery shopping or have lunch in one of the nearby restaurants such as the Korean restaurant I-Gio.
Address of Mercato San Cosimato: Piazza di San Cosimato. Get there by tram, n. 8, get off at Viale Trastevere and then walk for about 10 minutes.
Opening hours of Mercato San Cosimato: Mon-Sat 6 am-1 pm.
Extra tip: To enjoy what Trastevere has to offer food-wise, book a Trastevere food tour with Eating Italy.
9. Mercato Savoia
Located in the African Quarter, Mercato Savoia was originally laid out in two floors. Spread all on one level, today the stalls of this old food market in Rome look more like shops than market stands.
Here you can find anything from fresh fruits to confetti, from cheese and cold cuts to beautiful cakes to veggies sliced and washed. It’s a perfect place for your daily shopping, finding some souvenir to take home with you or just to spend a day in one of Rome’s lesser-known neighbourhoods.
In this area, you can find pretty nice restaurants such as the rustic-chic Acqua Farina E… (Via Tripolitania 107) and Ristorante Olio e Farina (Via Arrigo Davila 83).
Address of Mercato Savoia: Piazza Gimma. Get there by metro (Libia, line B).
Opening hours of Mercato Savoia: Mon-Sat 6 am-2 pm.
10. Mercato Trieste
This is an old food market in Rome and takes its name from the Trieste Quarter. This is a great place for finding regional delicacies and local products such as cheese and cold cuts, always dear to the Roman and Latial traditions, fresh fish, coffee, even a stand of frozen foods.
Not only fresh fruits and veggies, in this market, you can find just about anything food-wise. Wine, artisan beer and eggs complete the food scene, all strictly locally-sourced and belonging to the local culture.
Address of Mercato Trieste: Via Chiana 109. Get there by bus (109, 63).
Opening hours of Mercato Trieste: Mon-Sat 7 am-2 pm.
11. Mercato Campo Marzio
A little bonus to complete this list, Mercato Campo Marzio is a tiny covered food market in central Rome.
The stalls of fruits and veggies are only three and then you have a fish stand, a flowers’ booth, a bar and a pizza place. Often people just stop here for a quick lunch, a slice of pizza or an espresso before moving onto the next landmark. At the pizza eatery, you can order also a salad or full dishes such as pasta, fish or meat-based recipes.
Just like many local markets in Rome, this one, too, was larger back in the day. Its shrinking is the inevitable sign of the time, large-distribution stores and supermarkets and the generational change that sees young people preferring to study or move abroad instead of inheriting the family business.
Address of Mercato Campo Marzio: Largo Monte d’Oro. Get there by metro (Spagna, line A) or bus (628, 81).
Opening hours of Mercato Campo Marzio: Mon-Sat 7 am-3 pm.
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