Porta Portese Flea Market
Antiques and junk, CDs and retro clothes, leatherwear and luggage, towels, pans and white elephants: Whatever it is that you are looking for, you are likely to find it at Porta Portese’s mecato delle pulci, or flea market. This legendary market comes to life early on Sunday morning, with stallholders hailing from as far a field as Naples, and lasts into the afternoon. Firmly established as one of the best of Rome’s markets, it came into being after the end of the Second World War — some say due to the thriving wartime black market. One caution: Beware of pickpockets!
Piazza di Testaccio Food Market
(Monday through Saturday)
The Testaccio market, east of the River Tiber, has an intimate and friendfly atmosphere. Explore its stalls and you’ll stumble across top quality fruit, vegetables, fish and especially, meats. After a morning of walking, shopping and sightseeing, visitors can refuel at a restaurant. Rome’s multiple districts all sport their own dishes and Testaccio is renowned for it coda all vaccinara, an incongruous blend of oxtail, tomatoes, raisins, nuts and cocoa — yes, cocoa.
Mercato di Via Sannio
(Monday through Saturday)
Via Sannio market is the nearest Rome gets to Carnaby Street,. Slightly more sedate than Porta Portese’s flea market, it is good for everything from kitchen utensils to cheap CDs, but excels with its fab collection of retro clothes. Head for the covered part of the market for the best place to start rummaging for that unique, must-have item. As well as second-hand clothes, there is also a good stock of reasonably priced new clothes. Start bargaining and don’t worry if your Italian doesn’t go beyond the basics. If you shake your head and start to walk away, the vendor will get the gist … and hopefully bring the price down.
Mercato dei Fiori
This covered flower market is mainly for trade, but on Tuesdays it opens up to the general public. Brightly colored Mediterranean blooms take up the expanse of the second level, while the ground floor is a mass of greenery inhabited by all kinds of potted plants
Trionfale Food Market
(Monday through Saturday)
Located northwest of the Vatican and a sufficient distance off the tourist trail to escape the international throngs, this residential food market in Via Andrea Doria provides the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself into Roman life. The market is given over to dazzling displays of fruit, vegetables, fish and meats and there is also a section dedicated to clothes. It may not extend all the way up the Via Andrea Doria like it used to – it now takes up the open space between the Via Santamaura and Via Tunisi – but it still retains its character.
La Soffitta Sotto I Portici
(Every third Sunday)
At this monthly bargain market in Piazza Augusto Imperatore, more than 100 exhibitors display their wares, which range from classical collectors’ items and antiques to useful not-to-old objects like watches and furniture.
Campo de’ Fiori
(every day except Sunday)
In addition to the fresh fruits and vegetables, you’ll find cheap scarves, aprons and T-shirts, costume jewelry. Shops in the surrounding piazza sell meats, wines and sundries, making it a complete one-stop shop. Of special interest: the fabulous bakery Il Forno di Campo de’ Fiori (Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 22), the fresh fish at Attanasio (via del Biscione, 12 closed Monday), and the historic butcher shop, Antica Norcineria Viola, atmospheric and redolent of the sausages that hang over the counter like a curtain (Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 43).
Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele
This enormous market, perhaps Rome’s largest, in recent years has been moved into an indoor space. Clever cooks from all over Rome come here for the range of exotic fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices from Asia and Africa: Indian curries, coriander, turmeric, Chinese cabbages. The adjoining clothing market sells classic Indian saris and salwar-kameez suits.
Piazza San Cosimato
The historic Trastevere market at Piazza San Cosimato, one of the oldest in Rome, has been “refurbished” with modern covered stalls, parks and other amenities. But the spirit of the ancient market seems to have vanished. It’s very pretty and modern, but there are fewer stalls and fewer customers.
Mercato Piazza dell’Unità
On Prati’s busy main shopping street, this covered market dating to 1928, with its Liberty (art nouveau) architecture, is lovely place to buy the daily comestibles. Unlike other food markets in town, it offers underground parking and long hours. In one of Rome’s upscale residential neighborhoods. Open Monday-Saturday 7 am – 8 pm (Via Cola di Rienzo).
Mercato di Piazza Alessandria
In a classic wrought iron structure dating to the early 1900s, this covered Roman market offers fruits, vegetables and other food products as well as plants and flowers. Near the Porto Pia gate, and adjacent to an ex-Peroni beer factory, which has recently been restructured into a quaint shopping area, housing, among other shops, a branch of the Coin department store.
Mercato Comunale Flaminio
Not many from outside the neighborhood venture into this light-filled covered Roman market, where farmers sell their produce to a price-conscious crowd of loyal customers. There’s also an “Angolo dei Sapori,” selling pork products and cheeses. Via Guido Reni – Lungotevere Flaminio
(Monday – Saturday)
Rome’s biggest used and new clothes market, it is snuggled up along a stretch of the Aurelian Wall off Via Sannio are the half-covered stalls of the best used clothing and army surplus market in the city. Off Via Sannio, near San Giovanni in Laterano. Runs: Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm, Saturday 10am to 5pm.