The Joys of Food Shopping in Italy

Farmer’s Markets

If you are staying in an Italy Perfect city apartment there is usually a fresh food, open market nearby.  No prepackaged foods and antiseptic counters, but friendly vendors and colorful, delicious vegetables, fruit, cheeses and meats of every kind. We think of them as museums for food! See our previous blog all about the fun and traditions of shopping in Italian farmer markets.

Farmer’s Market Fruit Display

RomeCampo de’ Fiori  is a must-visit in the center near Piazza Navona.  And, then in most parts of the city there are covered neighborhood farmer’s markets, the Mercati Rionali.  They often have casual restaurants with the freshest of ingredients. We are happy to tell our vacation rental guests which markets is closest to their accommodations.

FlorenceMercato Centrale houses a traditional market and a fun food court, while the Sant’Ambrogio market is more traditional, the oldest in Florence.

Venice – the Rialto Market has so many aspects to enjoy.


Pre-prepared counter in supermarket.

Italian “supermarkets” have their own charms.  They are not like your neighborhood “Safeway” in any way, but often cleverly tucked into old buildings, winding around in surprising ways so you get lost. It is always fun to just see what is on offer.  See our blog with favorite souvenirs from Italian supermarkets.

For vacationers who want to have a nice but low effort meal at home, there are many fresh but semi-prepared items.  One of our favorites is a gourmet prepared pasta or lasagna and a side of spinach to reheat back at the apartment.


Panificio – Bakery Display

For a wonderful cultural experience, shop at the single purpose shops where you are often dealing directly with the proprietor who is usually a neighborhood resident as well as an expert on his or her items.  If you are there when the store isn’t jammed, you have a chance for a personal interaction and some special advice on your purchases.

Here are the types of small food stores that you will encounter.

  • Alimentari – Small grocery store with foods of all kinds
  • Formaggeria – Cheeses
  • Macelleria – Fresh meat, salami, and sausage
  • Rosticceria – Take out and eat-in roasted foods, usually meats and vegetables
  • Frutta e Verdura  – Fruits and vegetables
  • Panificio – Bread
  • Pasticceria – Pastries, cakes
  • Pescheria – Fish
  • Salumeria – Cold cuts, cheese, salami, some canned goods (also called a Pizzicheria in some regions)
  • Latteria – Dairy (milk, butter, cheese)
  • Enoteca – Wine

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