Every time I return to Rome and resume my life as a ‘seasoned’ local who has never really left, one of my daily routines is to head to my local food market. It really is here that you can find the authentic flavour of Italian culture and every visit reconnects me with sweet childhood memories.
As soon as I’m there, I realise how much I have missed the buzzing and convivial atmosphere of an outdoor market, where not only you can buy the freshest ingredients, key to Italian cuisine, but a place where housewives would exchange their favourite recipes, gossip and share a love of simple food. Not to mention that it can be a great experience for the senses and so visually vibrant, where you can almost sense an anticipation for the day ahead and food prepared and shared with care and love.
Oh how I miss the ‘imperfect’ look of fruit and veg on display that only adds to the authentic feel and its genuine value. Depending on the season, the peaches looked juicier, the tomatoes bursting with goodness were a feast for the eyes and the grapes looked as if they were freshly picked from a vineyard nearby! I remember one hot summer greedily eating my way through several slices of cool and refreshing watermelon and regretting it afterwards!
For every city or little town you visit in Italy, you will always find a number of local markets to choose from and they are definitely worth exploring and the perfect place for getting to know the local produce that goes into making simple but tasty food. How could I forget the plump green olives eaten on my way home or the sweet summery smell of fresh strawberries that made a fruit salad extra special!
If you truly long to discover the local flavours of Italy, then grab a shopping bag, search for your nearest food market and get eating just like an Italian would, and you might even pick up a tip or two on how to make the perfect tomato sauce!
Here is my favourite food market in Rome:
Campo de’ Fiori – In central Rome in the Trastevere area, this is the most famous food market in Rome and it operates from Mondays to Saturdays from 7am to 1pm. In a stunning setting, surrounded by medieval buildings, Campo de’ Fiori has the best produce from around Italy and there are also fishmonger stands and flower stalls.
If you would like to find out more about the best food markets and events all around Italy, watch out for a future feature and get started on that all essential shopping list. Also don’t forget to download my free guide if you would like to experience some other fun things to do in Rome!