Rome’s food markets are more than just a great photo-op.
You now can weave yourself into this essential part of daily life with our Rome market survival guide.
Supermarkets are easy to find in Rome now, but as recently as 10 years ago that was not the case. People did their shopping at local neighborhood markets, mercato rione, on an almost daily basis. This tradition remains with a few modern additions like stands selling things like sandwiches and fresh juice to visitors.
Almost every neighborhood has a daily market. Some are in covered buildings built specifically to house the different vendors, and some are outside with only umbrellas as cover for winter rains and summer sun. Most markets in Rome are now a mix of fruit and vegetable stands, meat and cheese stands and other odds-and-ends stalls.
Insider’s Tip: Even if you’re not planning on cooking, it is worth a spin through a market to see what’s in season. That way, you’ll know what to look for on restaurant menus. If you see piles and piles of artichokes at the market, you can be sure the artichokes on your plate are fresh!
With the exception of the Mercato Circo Massimo, almost all markets are open Monday through Saturday from early morning until mid-afternoon. Some of the larger ones have at least one day with evening hours.
A few tips to remember for your Rome market visit:
- Go early. The selection is best then, and the vendors will have more time (and patience) to help you.
- Bring a bag. Plastic bags are available, but we know you have a reusable shopper with you, right?
- Ask if you can touch the fresh produce first. You probably can’t, plus that’s part of the fun! Trust that the stall vendor knows which products are best for you.
- Do your math. Everything is sold in grams and kilos. The prices you see are usually per kilo. One kilo is about 2.2 pounds
Insider’s Tip: You may hear people ordering un etto di prosciutto. An etto is 100 grams.
A few of our favorite markets in Rome
Mercato Rionale Monti
Open Monday to Saturday until 3 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday
The Mercato Rionale Monti is small but has everything you need for both a quick snack or a multi-course meal. There is a fish stand (closed on Wednesdays), a fresh vegetable stand, a butcher, a deli stand and a fresh pasta stand that also makes savory pies, as well as cookies and cakes.
Open until 3:30 p.m., Monday-Saturday
The Mercato di Testaccio is the food lovers’ dream market. Plan on spending some time in this popular market on the edge of the Testaccio neighborhood as there are more than 100 stands to discover. On one side of the market are stalls selling shoes, gifts and housewares, and on the other side are butchers, fruit and vegetable stands, and bakeries. In the middle you will find an ancient Roman road and a coffee bar. If you are hungry, grab a sandwich from Mode e Vai or a salad from Zoe.
Nuovo Mercato Esquilino
Open until 3 p.m., Monday-Saturday
If you need cilantro, coconut milk or even Polish sausage the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino market in Rome is for you. It’s located near Termini station and is well-known for its multicultural offerings. You can expect to find everything from Halal butchers and Chinese vegetables to Roman seafood.
Campo di Fiori
Open until 2 p.m., Monday-Saturday
A few fresh produce stands are still mixed in with the stands hawking shots of limoncello and dried novelty pasta in this well-known and photogenic open-air market. From morning until afternoon, they are all crowded together in this beautiful piazza. A must-visit market in Rome.
Open until 2 p.m., Monday-Saturday
This small market is more clothes than food now, but there is still a butcher, a salumeria selling cured meats and cheese, as well as a fresh produce stand that is a real treasure. It’s been overseen for more than 60 years by the same family.
Mercato di Campagna Amica al Circo Massimo
Open until 3 p.m. only Saturday and Sunday
What makes this very popular weekend-only market different is the people behind the stands, who are all farmers and producers from the Lazio countryside. Take a number, and join the crowds for fresh bread, cheese, olive oil and even artisan Nutella. Head to the back of the market where each weekend a different vendor is selling lunch.
Now that you know how to navigate a Roman market like a pro, our Testaccio Neighborhood Food & Market Tour is calling your name. We’ll stop at—you guessed it—the Testaccio Market, where you’ll meet a few of our favorite stall owners and taste the products their families have been proudly selling for generations. That’s just one stop on a whole morning full of Roman foodie fun, which will take you off the beaten path and into the everyday lives of the locals who make Rome…well, Rome!