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The Most Spectacular Markets in Rome, According to a Local Expert

food, the most spectacular markets in rome, according to a local expert

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Travelers come from all corners of the world to see Rome’s ancient treasures — a fact that was likely underscored by your Instagram feed this summer. But while marveling at the Pantheon’s millennia-old oculus or tossing a euro into the Trevi Fountain are quintessential traditions in the Eternal City, so too is shopping — and tasting your way through — its myriad markets.

Rome is home to more than 100 food markets that range from outdoor produce stalls in neighborhood piazzas to sprawling indoor mazes of artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and prepared foods. But visiting one is more than just picking up a bag of ripe apples or a hunk of aged Parmigiano — roaming the stalls of these markets is a way to support generations-old businesses, and get a firsthand look into an enduring slice of Roman culture.

“Roman markets epitomize what we strive to achieve when building our experiences: connecting curious travelers to local food and people in a way that helps local culture thrive,” says Lauren Aloise, co-founder of Devour Tours, part of City Experiences. The company offers tours led by locals that mesh food and drink with history and storytelling, and, according to Aloise, include “a mix of unique mom-and-pop places that are off the beaten path and give you a true taste of life in Rome.”

food, the most spectacular markets in rome, according to a local expert

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Below, Aloise shares five of her favorite food markets to seek out stewed tripe sandwiches and sliced-to-order porchetta, organic honey and bulk wine, and an unforgettable Roman experience.

Mercato Trionfale 

Best For: Fresh Produce

Rome’s Prati neighborhood, which borders Vatican City just west of the Tiber River, is home to Mercato Trionfale — the city’s largest food market with over 270 stalls. “Unlike more touristy Roman markets, Mercado Trionfale is exclusively devoted to fresh food and produce, with selections ranging from fruits and vegetables to eggs, cheese, and homemade pasta,” says Aloise. “Some stands in the market have been open since 1924, spanning three generations.” She suggests visiting before or after a trip to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, especially if you’re staying in an Airbnb and plan to cook.

Must-try vendors: Da Peppino for honey, eggs, and jams, Da Gustavino for truly local bulk wine, and Box 102 where Arsenio and Ivo sell some of the best porchetta. 

Mercato Campo de’ Fiori

Best For: Iconic Location and History

The bustling market in Piazza Campo de’ Fiori is a close walk from some of Rome’s most famous landmarks, including Piazza Navona and the Pantheon, but its draw goes beyond its central location. “Dating back to 1869, Mercado Campo de’ Fiori is one of Rome’s oldest food markets, and it still has the informal, chaotic, homegrown feel of a time gone by,” says Aloise, who suggests picking up some fruit and vegetables before sitting down to lunch at a nearby trattoria. Try Salumeria Roscioli or Emma pizzeria, each just a three-minute walk from the market.

Must-try vendors: Don’t miss Signora Franca, one of the oldest produce sellers. Right on the piazza, you’ll also find La Antica Norceria Viola, a picturesque prosciutto shop I prefer to the market stands.

food, the most spectacular markets in rome, according to a local expert

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Mercato Testaccio 

Best For: Street Food and Lunch 

Located in the heart of the relatively quiet, unpretentious neighborhood, Aloise calls Mercato Testaccio “the go-to-market when you’re in the mood for tasting.” (It’s also the epicenter of Devour’s Testaccio Food & Market tour.) There’s predictably excellent fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish among the market’s roughly 100 stalls, but the prepared foods are the real draw. “From some of the city’s best pizza al taglio, to Rome’s most famous sandwiches — this is a place to come on an empty stomach,” she says. For first-timers to Rome, it’s a wonderful place to sample the city’s culinary range, all in one place!” After wandering the stalls, find a table near Max Caffè Piazzetta (box 102) and order a €5 Aperol spritz to pair with your feast.

Must-try vendors: Casa Manco (box 22) for innovative and delicious pizza, Enzo and Lina (Box 89) for cured meats and cheeses, Mordi e Vai (box 15) for famous Roman sandwiches (such as the stewed tripe)

Mercato Rionale Piazza San Giovanni di Dio

Best For: A Truly Local Experience

Not far from Trastevere in the leafy Monteverde Nuevo neighborhood, “this buzzing market is the perfect place to go to people-watch,” says Aloise. “The market has just about everything on offer, including quintessential Italian housewares, and there’s often not a tourist in sight.” It’s also a short walk to Villa Doria Pamphili, a 17th-century villa situated in Rome’s largest landscaped public park.

Must-try vendors: At Albero delle Spezie you’ll find dried fruits, nuts, and quality spices.

food, the most spectacular markets in rome, according to a local expert

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Mercato di Campagna Amica al Circo Massimo

Best For: Farmers’ Markets 

The outdoor, weekend-only Mercato di Campagna Amica al Circo Massimo is a “0 KM” farmers market, meaning all its vendors are selling items grown or made within 100 kilometers. “The products come from Lazio, the region surrounding Rome, and the local farmers and producers are happy to tell you all about them,” says Aloise.

Must-try vendors: They change depending on the season, but bring your shopping bags to take home treats like organic honey, fresh mozzarella, local wine, and fragrant olive oil. 

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