Hot! Two Roman Markets

48 Hours Rome

Day Two in Rome started with two markets. I’d missed out on the Sunday flea market, but was up early on Monday to see the city’s famed Campo de’ Fiori in full action. I’d seen this lively square in its evening incarnation the day before. Just 12 hours later it had transformed from strolling families and happy hour chatter to the sounds of vendors touting the goodness of their fruits, vegetables and artisan foods. I stared at the fresh beautiful oval shaped tomatoes for a minute before the lightbulb went off. Roma tomatoes…. in Roma!

Surrounding the square the bars were closed and a different set of stores were open: bakeries, butchers, delicious groceries. The Campo served the neighborhood, but it also served the tourists. Most vendors spoke English and scattered among the fruits and veggies were T-shirts and souvenirs. I needed T-shirts and soon a entrepreneurial man roped me in and indulged my “before macchiato” Italian as we negotiated prices and styles.

I left with my bag of goodies to find my second market in the Testaccio neighborhood. My guidebook said this was a locals only district with a market to match. Sure enough, I found this covered mercato in the center of the neighborhood filled with all the essentials for the family looking for dinner that night: Minnestroni soup veggies prepped to go, butchers recommending daily cuts and bakers with focaccia pizzas and sandwiches. And not a word of English. I didn’t haggle much but enjoyed the atmosphere.

After buying a snack I wandered the quiet streets to their end at the Tevere, then caught a bus back to the hostel. My Italian morning was over. I was ready for a shower and a switch back to the tourist slog. Next stop: Vatican City.

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