Some of the best deals in Rome can be found in the beautiful outdoor markets. Located in timeless settings on ancient streets and in stunning piazzas, the markets offer every kind of merchandise imaginable, from immaculate floral arangments and high-quality produce to inexpensive clothes, shoes, and antiques. I first visited the markets as a tourist and then later while writing a guide book. Below is a guide to the most important markets in Rome.
Campo di Fiori Market
By far, the most visually stunning market is the market held in Campo di Fiori, which is a virtual playground for amateur photographers. Campo di Fiori, which means field of flowers, is filled with flower venders whose delicate selections of flowers transported me, well, into a photograph of Rome. Smiling venders watered their flowers while men and women dressed in business attire purchased the bouquettes that would later adorn their offices and homes. If you’re traveling, you might not need an entire bouquet, so single flowers are also sold. Further on in the market you can find Italian specialty foods of all types as well as the tools and utensils used to prepare them. I found great deals on marble mortar and pestles (great for making authentic Genevese pesto) and espresso makers.
The selection of fresh produce is extensive but a little on the expensive side. For example, a single artichoke can cost as much as a 1.50 euro, but they are some of the best in the world. Pay attention to what is in season too, because although all of the produce looks nice, some of it is imported from other countries, particularly the fruit. Seafood, olive oil, wine, cheeses, and baked goods are also sold, and don’t pass up visiting a few of the shops that surround the piazza. The Campo di Fiori market takes place Monday through Saturday in the morning and until 1pm.
Via Sannio Market
If you’re looking for inexpensive clothing and enjoy the hunt as much as the spoils, the Via Sannio market is a fun and expansive market worth a visit. Most easily reached by taking the Metro’s A Line toward Anagnina and getting off at the San Giovanni stop, this market is a good place to test out your bartering skills. A good friend once gave me a few tips. Her father is a professional gambler who loves to win with a good bluff. The first rule to bartering, he told her, is to be prepared to walk away. If you can’t leave it, then you can’t barter. With the knowledge that you can walk away, you can always get a lower price because you hold all the cards.
The clothing sold at this market is sometimes simply thrown in piles on large tables with 1.00 euro signs hung above. Dive in. If you want to try anything on, simply do so. If you find a pair of shoes and want to try them on, say Posso provare?, which means, Can I try it? The stand owner will likely provide you with a mirror and chair. The Via Sannio market begins early in the day and goes until early afternoon, Monday through Saturday.
Porta Portese Market
One of the best markets in Rome, the Porta Portese market only takes place on Sunday mornings. It ends early afternoon. Located around Piazza Ippolito Nievo and running up to Ponte Sublicio, it offers more items than I could imagine, including the food, clothing, and antique furniture. If you happen to be in the city on a Sunday it’s worth a visit. Because the streets are jam-packed with people, it’s an adventurous experience. Be sure to pay attention to your wallet or purse.
Be sure to read our hotel recommendations guide on where to stay in Rome.
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com