Rome Market Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know

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.

In this Rome market guide, we're highlighting six of our favorite food markets in Rome and showing you how to shop like a local.

Photo Credit: Miwok, Text Overlay: Devour Rome Food Tours

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.

One of the top tips in our Rome market guide: don't touch the produce!
Be patient and wait for the vendor to grab whatever it is you need.

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.

Our Rome market guide will show you everything you need to know about navigating those bustling market halls that are so common here in Italy.
Seafood tastes best when it comes fresh from the market.

Testaccio

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.

One of our favorite spots in this Rome market guide is Testaccio.
The massive Testaccio Market is full of every kind of fresh product you could possibly imagine. Photo credit: Lalupa

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.

The Nuovo Mercato Esquilino is the most diverse food market in Rome.
The colorful Nuovo Mercato Esquilino offers a delicious variety of products from around Italy as well as the world. Photo credit: Anthony

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.

One of the most popular food markets in Rome can be found at Campo de' Fiori.
Mercato Campo de’ Fiori has transformed from a humble collection of fresh produce stalls to one of Rome’s premier food markets. Photo credit: Roberto Taddeo

Viminale

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!

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