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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Gomez

Must See Markets in Rome

By Christopher Gomez


Markets in Europe are hidden gems. They provide a unique insight into the culture of the city around you and can oftentimes tell a broader story than anywhere else. The market culture of Europe is a direct reflection of the thousands of years of haggling and selling that have shaped this continent since the times of the Greek Agora. In today's edition, I will be going over three markets where you can experience this history while getting some shopping done at the same time.



Mercato Trionfale

Via Andrea Doria

Monday - Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.


This is Rome's largest and busiest market, inside you will find stalls selling everything from meats and cheeses, to fresh produce, and even household goods. Everything available here is fresh and of the highest quality, sold by local distributors who receive their product daily. The produce is some of the best tasting you will find anywhere in the city and is sold for incredibly cheap. Some of my favorite stalls include the porchetta stall on the Eastern side of the market, the central row of fruit stands right down the middle, as well as the wine stall which sells by the liter for as cheap as two euros. I visit every Monday at around 10 AM when the market is bustling with people getting their groceries for the week. When it comes to produce markets like this, the earlier you go the better. Make sure to bring your own bag and reuse any plastics they give you next time you visit!


The exterior of Mercato Trionfale, Rome's iconic produce market located in the heart of Prati.


Nuovo Mercato Esquilino

Via Principe Amedeo, 184

Monday - Saturday, 5 a.m. to 3 p.m.


If you’ve got your Mercato Trionfale for all your day to day produce needs, you also need your Mercato Esquilino for the things you likely never thought you could buy. Want a still live eel to make some stew? They got them! Want an exotic fruit that is only grown on a small island in the South Pacific? They got it! Want to buy snails, crabs, or squids by the kilo? Here's your place! Mercato Esquilino is located in Esquilino, the neighborhood adjacent to Termini station, and is home to the most culturally diverse selection of foods, spices and products you will find in all of Italy. This market is perfect if you want to broaden your palate from boring Italian food which is completely devoid of spice. Apart from food, they also sell clothes in a small market next door. I usually venture to this market on Tuesdays or Thursdays as on their busy days (Friday, Saturday, Monday) you will be packed together tighter than the sardines they have on sale. So next time you are feeling adventurous or just bored, make sure to give this market a visit.


A rainbow of spices at Mercato Esquilino near Piazza Vittorio. Courtesy of mercatidiroma.com


Mercato di Porta Portese

Piazza di Porta Portese

Sundays, 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.


As anyone will tell you, I am an avid haggler. In my opinion you have not truly lived until you have stood on the side of a road in a European street market, arguing with some guy over the perceived value of an object. There is no greater feeling than finally triumphing and getting the best price. And there is no better place to get that deal than Porta Portese Market. This is the largest flea market in all of Rome and is the site of over a kilometer of stalls selling literally anything you could imagine. Shoes, belts, pants, “designer” goods, wallets, sunglasses, Doc Martens… if you can name it, some guy is selling it. Here everything is on “special sale” and even then, the price can be lowered. It is a beautiful sea of haggling and more deals than you can shake a stick at. The market is only open on Sundays so you can come when everything else is closed. I recommend coming with friends and working as a team to run down the prices. Have one person express interest while another is a “naysayer”. This will drive the merchant to run down the price as low as possible to make the sale. Keep in mind that the merchants will often quadruple prices, sometimes more if they can tell that you are foreign. Always know how much money you have before you walk into a deal. Keep these things in mind and you’ll be arguing over products in no time!


Shoppers browse a stand selling used books at Porta Portese market. Photo courtesy of Romeing Magazine.

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The markets of Rome offer a unique opportunity to experience the culture of Europe through a local lens. You can get to know people and their crafts on a far deeper level than can be offered by a museum or travel book. Furthermore, now more than ever, the vendors of these markets need as much business as they can get. I hope this guide can help you discover a new part of Europe most tourists never get to see.







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