Street markets in Rome: where and when to go for low-cost shopping, antiques, bargain hunting

Here are those that I consider the best street markets in Rome, ideal to buy cheap and unusual objects, tasty street food, local products, and search for original gifts that you wouldn't find in the more "touristy" shops. Here we go:


1: Campo de Fiori has one of the most ancient street markets in Rome (and in my opinion it's also the nicest one), it has a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, typically roman foods -like porchetta and pecorino-, flowers (fiori) and clothes. The location is the picturesque piazza dominated by the statue of philosopher Giordano Bruno, burnt here in 1600 by the curch for his "heretic" ideas. Today, there's still the tradition of bringing flowers to the statue, to honor the memory of Bruno.

The market is not super big, as it's contained in the piazza, but it's very interesting and vivacious. While the restaurants at the sides are full of people drinking coffee or eating pizza, in the middle of it a crowd of old roman ladies are searching for the ingredients for a carbonara pasta, or puntarelle for their salad. You can find all types of veggies (in particular artichokes, puntarelle and mint, that are featured in many traditional roman recipes), spices, truffle, sauces like pesto and arrabbiata, sun-dried tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, wine, honey. The prices are quite high, if compared to other peripheral markets in Rome, but the quality is high as well. Definitely worth to visit.

Location

location is piazza Campo De Fiori, in the historical center.

Opening times

open every morning from 7.00 to 14.00, except sunday.


2: Esquilino market is located in the "Chinese district", and it's the international market of Rome. Here you can find food coming from all over the world: japanese, chinese, indian, south american, but also traditional Roman foods like porchetta and italian bakery products, like panini and pizza. In fact there's an interesting mix of immigrants and local people walking around the stalls, evaluating the products.

I really recommend this market, especially because it has a great variety of fresh foods, many of them having higher quality that the foods you usually buy in the supermarkets of Rome, and the prices are also a bit cheaper. If you're into ethnic cuisine, here you can find everything for your recipes, from noodles to algae to chicken feet.

location is via principe Amedeo

open in the morning from 7.30 to 14.00, from monday to saturday


3: Porta Portese is probably the first name that will come to mind to every Roman when you ask for a street market in Rome. This is the largest, historical flea market in the city, located between via Portuense and via Nievo. Porta Portese is an old tradition in Rome (it's featured in movies and songs), even if its quality has declined a bit in the last years. It's still very big and crowded, but a lot of those typical local vendors have disappeared in favor of foreigners (mainly chinese and africani) who sell low quality items, and finding real bargains is not as easy as it was years ago.

However, the market remains a top destination in Rome for low cost shopping, and if you go early you'll surely increase your chances to find something valuable. The neighborhood is also very nice (Trastevere), so it's worth a trip, especially on a sunny sunday morning.

Location

location is piazza di Porta Portese

Opening times

open in the morning from 7.00 to 14.00, only on sunday.


4: Conca d'Oro is a street market in a residential area, not very central. The exact address is via Conca d'Oro 145. It's located slightly on the north-center of Rome, but it's still very easy to reach with the metro. It takes around 10 minutes from Termini with the line B. Conca d'Oro may be a good destination if you want to do some shopping far from the tourist mass, as it's typically 100% insiders.

You can find antiques, old italian furniture, collectible (like lego, action figures, ship models, coins) decorations for the house, jewelry, vintage items, minerals, clothes and local food. Many vendors have cheap and banal stuff, but few stands hide precious and interesting objects for sale. Keep an eye on those as there you could find a real bargain. The market is small, a whole tour can take 30-40 minutes, but there's a park just beside it, in case you may want to enjoy some green in a sunny day.

location is via di Conca d'Oro.

open from 9.00 to 20.00, every saturday and sunday.


5: Piazza Navona hosts a shiny, super crowded, and very popular christmas market (next is december 1, 2015 to january 6, 2016). The wonderful piazza with the four rivers fountain by Bernini was so crowded the last time I went, that I could barely walk! If you're in Rome during the christmas holidays, this is definitely something that you don't want to miss. Especially for children. You can buy decorations for presepe (nativity scene), miniatures of befana of all types and sizes, candies, street food and of course christmas gifts. The athmosphere is really magical, and you will also find carousels and a lot of artists.

In piazza Navona you will also find a lot versions of the traditional christmas sweets we have here in Italy: panettone, pandoro and torrone. Not to mention the delicious -but every year more expensive!- caldarroste (roasted chestnuts). Note that piazza Navona is worth visiting also in any other period of the year, as it's always full of artists, musicians and performers.

Location

location is piazza Navona.

Opening times

open from 9.00 to 20.00, exclusively in Christmas period.


6: Ponte Milvio hosts a street market that develops along the right side of the river Tiber, and it has more than 150 exhibitors. This is a great place if you want to buy furniture, interior decorations, collectible items, antiques and modern antiques.


7: Garbatella has a little street market (called mercato rionale) which is not destination for tourists. It serves mainly people in this neighborhood (which is my neighborhood) and it has only food. Open every morning in via di Santa Galla.

Despite not glamorous as other street markets in Rome, the mercato rionale della Garbatella is worth a trip because it has a couple of interesting things to visit nearby.


8: Mercato Monti is a little market ia big closed hall, near the exit of metro Cavour. It has mostly clothes, cheap jewelry, gadgets. I find it really not interesting, but maybe you may want to check in if you happen to be there.


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