Markets in Rome
If you are one of those people who likes to sniff out markets and a chance to hang out with the locals, then go to Rome’s new jewel on the gastronomic map the New Testaccio market or Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio in Italian.
The old and the new Testaccio market
The old, covered Testaccio market had been operating for sixty odd years on Piazza Testaccio, in the heart of the neighbourhood, before it moved in 2012 to a new, shiny building opposite the MACRO museum. Architect Marco Rietti’s goal was to create a marketplace that would not only encourage social encounters and integration, but also to reproduce Testaccio’s urban structure. The light of the vertical perforated screens (clay blocks reminiscent of ancient amphorae) and roof construction in combination with the numerous entrances try to accommodate the continuity between the sidewalk and market floor levels, between interior and exterior space.
Historic by descent, new by interpretation
Does this “city market within the city” work? Yes it does! Many were sceptical when the old market moved away (after a 17 year long fight) from Piazza Testaccio, where all the stalls were closely interconnected, to a modern, well designed, environmental friendly building. True, it did lose a bit of its old, local, community driven atmosphere, but many of the old vendors re-opened and continued to sell their fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses in the new stalls and the place is buzzing with activity. Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio kept to its tradition of selling meat, originally from the “mattatoio” or old slaughterhouse, and veggies, even though the 103 market stalls are now all spread out over 5000 square meters and painted in two different shades of white (to bring out the colours of the goods on display). In spite of all the resistance it became a successful city market, with a modern vibe.
Go hungry, you will find lots of amazing street food to eat
Original and high quality street food has emerged as one of the strong points of the Testaccio market. Besides Mordi e Vai, that offers its customers rolls with tripe, sausage, scottona and picchiapò, a whole bunch of new chefs took street food to another level. Foodbox of chef Marco replaced the Sicilian Cannoleria with Dess’art, or chef Arcangelo Dandini who gives a whole new twist to Roman Supplì (deep fried rice croquettes generally filled with mozzarella), but the queen of the bunch is American chef Cristina Bowerman (1 * Michelin) who pushes the boundaries of Italian cuisine. Chef Cristina got inspired by raw materials available at the market and invented the “cups”, paper cups as portable containers that can be filled with any kind of food. She also regularly invites guest chefs to come and cook at the market. I also love to go La prosciutteria by Enzo & Lina (box 89) for the buffalo mozarella and prociuto.
For those who’d like to try to real prosciutto that comes from Norcia, as well as many other delectable meats and cheeses available.
You can visit one of Rome’s most authentic markets from Monday to Saturday from 6 AM till 3 PM via entrances at Via Galvani, Via Franklin and Via Manuzio (Metro B Piramide). Don’t forget to grab an espresso too in between buys.
Every Sunday from 9 AM to sundown the Città dell’Altra Economia (the City of the other Economy) takes place at the restored spaces of the old slaughterhouse in Testaccio. La Città dell’ Altra Economia promotes “an alternative economy” in the form of agricultural produce, fair trade and sustainability. With lot’s of independent vendors and quality organic fare it is a kind of “Bio Market” that totally fits the bill of a mellow, environmentally friendly Sunday shopping experience.
Città dell’Altra Economia runs from the beginning of March till October
Largo Dino Frisullo (Metro B Piramide)