When most people think of shopping in Rome they think of designer labels – after all, the Italian capital is home to Versace, Louis Vuitton and Armani stores to name just a few. However, there’s more to the city than just shopping big brand clothes and accessories. Italy’s capital also has a number of cool markets where you can pick up rare items and a few souvenirs, before tucking into traditional Italian market food.
When in Rome: Peruse our list of the top markets for an authentic Italian experience
This Sunday market is home to roughly a mile of open-air stalls. The stands are eclectic and you can buy everything from football shirts and antique lamps to cacti and perfume here. If you’re looking for a slightly different souvenir, rummage around for vintage newspapers or old stamps. A few artisans have stands here, too, so you can pick up items like hand-carved bowls and homemade jewellery. The food stands are limited but the market is close to a cluster of cafés for when you want a break. The market is open Sunday 0600–1400.
Nuovo Mercato de Testaccio
There are just over 100 vendors at Nuovo Mercato de Testaccio. Some of the stall holders sell clothes and homewares like espresso cups, but a good proportion of the market is focused on food. Alongside the fresh produce, you’ll find stalls selling street food and ready-to-eat produce. Options include fresh porchetta (slow roasted pork) served on ciabatta, platters of cheese and meats served with a glass of wine, and Sicilian cannoli – cigar shaped pastries filled with sweet ricotta. The market is open Monday–Saturday 0600–1500.
This market is a great place for a fly on the wall experience of local life. Close to the Vatican, it’s a food and produce market so you’ll join Rome’s locals as they shop for their weekly meals. You’ll see stalls topped with cured meats the size of tennis rackets, boulder-shaped cheeses, countless fruits and vegetables, and jars of preserves like honey. There are also a number of bakery stalls that sell everything from biscotti to ciabatta. Many of the stall holders are third generation market traders and the names of their businesses are the same as when their grandfathers were young. Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 0700–1400, and Tuesday and Friday 0700–1900.
Campo de Fiori
Not far from the Pantheon in Rome’s historic centre, Campo de Fiori is a great place to go for souvenirs. Trestle tables bough beneath the weight of olive oil, truffle oil, limoncello and balsamic vinegar. Other stalls are piled with pyramids of fresh cheeses or swamped with bags of pasta. You can pick up a few snacks as you walk around. The fruit sellers offer pots of freshly prepared fruit salad, for example. If you get really peckish, there are plenty of cafés nearby. The market is open Monday–Saturday 0600–1400.
Bus: C.so Vittorio Emanuele/s. A. Della
A crate of fruit on display at the infamous Campo de Fiori
Mercato di Campagna Amica del Circo Massimo
This market, popular with foodies, pops up close to Circus Maximo every weekend. Vendors carve up their huge roast pork in order to sell sandwiches the size of forearms, there are cheese and chutneys to try, and stands selling local beers and wines. There’s an outdoor picnic table area where you can sit and eat whatever you’ve bought, and it’s not unusual for live musicians and bands to perform here throughout the day. The market is a great place to visit if you’re on a budget, too, with some lunches costing you €5. The market is open Saturday 0900–1800, and Sunday 0900–1600.
Metro: Circo Massimo
Nuovo Mercato Esquilino
A 20-minute walk from the Colosseum is the Nuovo Mercato Esquilino. This market is much more international than the others Rome has to offer. Yes, you can pick up traditional cheeses like Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano Reggiano, and buy olives by the ladle-load, but you can also get your hands on Indian spices, soy sauce and exotic vegetables, such as Chinese yangmei. There’s a café in the back of the market that sells traditional Italian coffee and pastries for when you need a time out. The market is open Monday 0500–1500, Tuesday 0500–1700, Wednesday–Thursday 0500–1500, and Friday–Saturday 0500–1700. Closed Sunday.
Metro: Vittorio Emanuele
An explosion of colours, shapes, varieties and scents at a market in Rome
Mercato delle Stampe
This dinky market is full of unique knick-knacks. Vendors don’t have stalls here, they have kiosks that each look a little like Dr Who’s TARDIS, and products spill out onto the street under little green canopies. Inside, artists sell sketches and paintings of anything from ballerinas to sports cars, while other kiosks are crammed with second-hand books or maps. Some also sell comics or black and white photos of Rome. The market is open 1000–1700, and is closed in August.