When visiting Rome, one of our favorite spots to drop in is the Mercato Trionfale. For years we were fortunate to live just one block away for this, the largest indoor market in Rome. Years ago this was a “street market,” meandering down Via Andrea Doria literally in the middle of the street. Quite rustic, it was primarily constructed of plywood sheets nailed together. You stumbled over tree roots and wound through a maze of vendors. Then, a few years ago, the city created this modern, huge market. I’m often nostalgic for the street market… but certainly appreciate the new facilities.
Mercato Trionfale is the ultimate market for foodies – and that starts with incredible vegetables and fruits. At one stand we counted NINE different varieties of tomatoes. We purchased tomatoes, basilica, and some fresh mozzarella di bufala cheese and had the most incredible Insalata Caprese. Prices here are among the lowest in town, far better than a tourist-oriented market like Campo de Fiori.
Years ago, when we first went to the markets we were amazed to see eggs sitting out. Yet, after living in Italy, purchasing eggs from this stand became our norm. Want just six eggs or four eggs? They will break off a container and then wrap up your eggs, complete with paper and rubber bands. And they feature all types and sizes of eggs.
Where’s the best place to buy table wine… at one of the above stands. You bring your own bottles (or they can furnish you one) and you pay by the liter. Some folks bring 4-5 liter or 3-liter jugs. You can see the prices range from 1.20€ to 1.80€ per liter – and it’s great wine!
Certainly meat and cheese are a huge part of any market in Italy… and the Mercato Trionfale has many options. You’ll see the meats being carved and prepared by each vendor. Whole chickens, rabbits, pig’s heads, etc. are all common sites in the Mercato Trionfale… and the variety of cheese is overwhelming. We always get some cheese vacuum-sealed to bring home. There are a few vendors in this market that have this capability.
Our favorite meat purchase at the Mercato Trionfale was always “Porchetta,” a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast. Porchetta has been selected by the Italian Ministero delle Politiche Agricole, Alimentari e Forestali as a “prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale” (“traditional agricultural-alimentary product”). At the Mercato Trionfale multiple vendors sell this tasty treat and as you walk by, free samples will be offered (and gladly accepted). And at 1.49€ an etto (for each slice), it’s a great deal.
The Mercato Trionfale also has bakeries, dry goods, button shops, a shoe repair service, a dry-cleaners, a clothing repair, a cafe’, a florist store and many other varieties of shops. The Fish market on Tuesdays and Fridays is always lively and entertaining.
The Mercato Trionfale is open Monday – Saturday, and most stalls are open from about 08:00 to 14:30. Hours of operation are determined independently by each vendor. If you’re headed to the Vatican, the Mercato Trionfale is only about two blocks from the entrance to the Vatican Museums.For more of our pictures of the Mercato Trionfale, head to our Mercato Trionfale Pinterest board.
copyright (c) 2012 by Ron Phillips Travel LLC – luxury travel and consultancy. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, Contact Ron Phillips Travel