Tip! Build a good relationship with the vendors, and they will give their favorite regulars free herbs, like basil, with their purchase.
Out of 150+ markets, this one is special.
Discovering the markets in Rome was one of the best things that I did in Italy. The most authentically modern, Roman experience can be found at one of these neighborhood hubs between 8 am and 3 pm when they are bustling with consumers. The majority of locals buy their food products from these markets in place of supermarkets. This is one place where real Roman life in the contemporary world happens. It is a really incredible experience that I advise every traveler to seek out.
As a result of my love for markets, I went searching for them regularly and explored many of the 150+ markets throughout the city, but none of them compared to the first market I ever set foot in: Mercato Testaccio. The beauty of this market lies in the details. From the fresh, seasonal produce on display every day to the friendly vendors who remember your name.
The neighborhood of Testaccio surrounding the market is up and coming. It used to be a meat-packing district, but it is quickly becoming a desirable area of the city to live in. The crowd of people who shop at this market is quite variable and locals of all sorts are regulars.
The wide variety of produce, meats, cheeses, pastries, and breads are incredible, but most markets in Rome have an impeccable myriad of products. What makes this market so special is the environment that I found to be unparalleled at any other market. Many of the consumers have become regulars and they have developed a strong rapport with the vendors. The vendors will give their favorite regulars free herbs, like basil, with their purchase.
This market is one of the many things I miss about living in Rome and it will be one of the first places I visit when I return to Rome. I absolutely fell in love with the city of Rome and Mercato Testaccio is a huge reason why. My experience living in Rome would not have been complete without it and I believe that no one should visit Rome without spending time in this hidden gem.
Storrey spent two months living in Rome.