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Dec 3, 2010 08:12 AM

Rome in January--what to buy at food markets and cook in our apartment?

My family will be spending a week in Rome in mid-January and renting an apartment there. For several of our dinners we plan to buy ingredients at food markets and cook together at home.

In my board search I have found the following market recommendations:
Testaccio (seems to be the most popular)
Campo dei Fiori
Vittorio Emanuele
Piazza Vittorio

If you had to pick your top 2-3 of these, which would they be--or do you have other recommendations? We are fine with walks and public transport; hoping to avoid anything that would require a long taxi ride. If you are familiar with these markets, are there particular sellers/stalls we should be sure to visit?

Are there any local/in season (or just really good) veg, fruits or other ingredients that we should look out for at that time of year? Any suggestions for classic Roman winter dishes we can make at home? (I love artichokes and heard they might be in season so anything carciofi would be great!)

Thanks in advance!


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  1. you didnt say what neighborhood your apartment is in

    1. First winter dish that comes to mind is "Spuntature con polenta" - spareribs cooked in tomato sauce with polenta . . .yum. Like Jen, it would be good to know what neighborhood your apartment is in.

      1. Piazza Vittorio and Vittorio Emanuele are the same thing, and Campo de Fiori is the most touristy (and expensive), so you're down to three.

        There are lists by month of frutta (fruit) and verdura (vegetables) here:
        It's in Italian, but there are pictures.

        1 Reply
        1. re: zerlina

          Depending on where you will be there are also small shops selling fruits and vegetables, butchers,deli-equivalents for salumi, cheeses, etc.,, daily bakeries and so forth in all the neighborhoods where Romans live as well as smaller street markets and an increasining number of supermarkets, for better or worse. You shouldnt have to travel cross town (tho you may want to!) to put together a meal.

          There are a lot of things that can be bought and made into delicious meals - I love to make salads from the market greens - they can get a bit generic in winter but you should try the winter chicories - I usually start my shopping with a bottle of good olive oil and some tasty vinegar. I like to make all manner of vegetable dishes, as well as vegetable soups in Italy - one can usually find some shell beans and very good winter vegetables and greens for a minestrone - also in Roma a piece of guanciale should be obtained - it can flavor your soup and veg very well but also of course can help you make the classic roman pastas, along with some good pecorino. Lastly we very much enjoy the Roman breads - particularly the big country breads you can buy by the "etto" (10th of a kilo) which last for several days (easily refreshed by toasting or in oven) and are a good base for enjoying soups, stews, cheeses and salami, as well as pizza bianco, best fresh but reheatable same day.

        2. Fancy markets are always interesting and well-worth the time and effort to visit. Still, neighborhood butchers/bakers/fish mongers abound and would love to have your business. Talk to your landlord, ask advice. Have him/her introduce you around. It's all about neighborhood connections. Some landlords are better than others but you'll figure things out as you settle in.

          1. Still no response from the OP as to where they will be staying.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bropaul

              Trionfale is the market where all the Roman people go. The prices are fantastic. The quality is fantastic. The fish is fresh and you can find the 'porchetta' man and have him slice you some delicious oven roasted pork for a panino while walking around. Artichokes,zucchini flowers to fry, check out the beautiful green Roman broccolo and make pasta sauce with it,buy some wine straight from the barrel,mushrooms, mixed field greens to boil and sauté in garlic and chilli (you can buy the latter fresh from the Asian stall), nuts and dried tomatoes, lentils and chick peas.Freshly baked crispy white pizza and breads and biscuits from the big oven there.There is very little you can't find here to have you salivating all the way home! It is also a great people watching place.Take a bus. Enjoy your stay