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3 Top Rome Markets: Campo de' Fiori, Mercato di Testaccio and Vittorio

Visit any market in Italy and you will soon realize that food here is more than a passion, it is almost a religion.  Rome markets are no exception.

The noisy, colorful markets in Rome become places of worship for the dedicated who come out in all types of weather just to be able to take home fresh, homegrown produce of the highest standard. It is also a place where Roman housewives meet up to hear the local news and catch up on the latest gossip. 

So if you want to blend into the crowd, and live like a local for a few hours, rather than being a tourist, then head down to one of the 3 Roman markets we recommend.

In Rome there are 3 markets that stand out as 3 of the best and worth a visit.

ROME MARKETS: Mercato di Testaccio

a butchery displaying meat and traditional Italian food at Rome Markets
This market in Rome lies next to the River Tiber and is the very heart of Rome's gastronomy.

Ancient Romans before had departed from nearby ports for far off lands such as North Africa and Egypt and had come back with ships laden with grain and olive oil and exotic wares to sell.

Trading in this area has been done for centuries and trading today in this market is just as vibrant in modern times.

This is an area that is tourist free and where you can experience true Roman life. 

With over 50 food stalls to choose from offering anything from horse meat, to fish, chestnuts, pasta, prosciutto, and succulent tomatoes, there is always lots to choose from. 

Stalls pulse with good humor and there is always time for a quick joke or hear the latest gossip. Outside cars hoot, lyres screech and sirens wail, but inside one is oblivious to all of this.

Like in most open-air markets in Italy the produce and food on display is only of the freshest and items are produced with a flash of pride and a flourish if you show just the slightest hint that you may be interested in buying. Every piece of fruit, vegetable, fish or meat product is chosen for the customer with utmost care, and you are never allowed to leave until you appear completely satisfied with your purchases.

Stall keepers here have been selling their produce for decades. Older generations give way to the new. Cervini the fishmonger has been working his stall for 60 years. Ranieri is a fine butcher who has been there a long time too, as has Canestre who sells organic fruit and vegetables and Volpetti who sells succulent hams, salami, cheese, breads and pizzas.

Visit this covered Rome market on your next trip. It isn't far from Trastevere, the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill - about a half hour walk. Don't visit on Sundays as it is closed. The best times to visit are Tuesdays to Saturdays and get there after 8:00 a.m.

ROME MARKETS: Mercato Campo de' Fiori

Well, we go from one of the less known Rome markets in the Mercato di Testaccio, to one of the best known Rome markets in the Campo de' Fiori. Most people who visit Rome and want to visit one market visit this one.

Situated behind the Tosca Church, Santa Andrea della Valle, near the Piazza Navona, it is an attractive and busy market. Being so central stallholders pay a premium for their space, but it doesn't show as their cheerfulness and jovial dispositions prevail whenever a new customer comes their way. Best of all, because of the problems with parking and accessibility, most stallholders have a delivery service that will bring your purchases to your door, if you so wish.

Although the market today is lively and attractive in days gone by it was one of the roughest of neighborhoods. It started its life as a horse market. The piazza itself, where the market is held, has seen several murders of notoriety, and during the Inquisition it was here were the executions took place. Today however, the area is far more genteel, the only crime one should be looking out for are those looking to pick pockets!

The ambiance of this open-air farmers' market is further enhanced by the many cheese shops, wine merchants, delis and restaurants that can be found lining the piazza. One such place is the Antico Forno. It is always filled with customers clamoring to buy their delicious thin crusted pizzas and freshly baked bread.

Come early to get your produce at this Rome market. It is open daily from 6:00 a.m. - 1-30 p.m. except on Sundays when it is closed.

ROME MARKETS: Mercato Piazza Vittorio

There are many markets in Rome, but the next one is probably my favorite. Well, if you were watching your pockets at Campo de' Fiori, then you will definitely on the alert at the market Piazza Vittoria, also known as the Esquilino Market.

This Rome market is not far from the main railway station and is a hive for pickpockets. However, not withstanding, it is also the largest market in Rome where you can pick up produce far cheaper than at the Campo or Testaccio. However, where the other two markets have top quality produce, here you will need to examine your goods very carefully before purchasing.

However, what makes this market so special is the fact that the stalls are mostly manned by immigrants who sell ethnic food and produce that you would not normally see in other Italian markets; spices, coriander, okra, yams, cassava and Asian fruit and vegetables. They also sell halal meat and fish.

This Rome market is open every day from 7:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. except for Sundays.

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