With its dimly lit alleys between stalls that raise their 125 clanging metal shutters at the crack of dawn, the San Giovanni di Dio market in the Monteverde Nuovo neighborhood reminds me more of a casbah than an open-air market. The gritty and buzzing working class vibe is awesome. Among my favorite markets in Rome, this is the one I have the biggest crush on. And probably the last of its kind to still conserve that old Roman charm and typical street-side dimension.
With not a tourist in sight, the market in Piazza San Giovanni di Dio covers a very large space and the permanent stalls sell all manner of foodstuffs and housewares: fresh produce, in many cases organic, plus there are plenty of butchers (we are in Rome afterall), fishmongers, alimentari and gourmet delis, bakeries, exotic produce stands and other unusual market finds. Plus, numerous textile stands, clothing, shoes, and organic detergent shops are present. Despite being rather central (only a 10 minute tram ride from Trastevere) the prices are lower than what I expected. If you want to mix with the locals and catch a glimpse of authentic everyday life this is where you want to be.
My current favorite stops are:
- The Neapolitan fishmonger and charming performer, whose fresh catch includes gleaming local fish and mollusks sourced at the Terracina and Anzio auctions.
- Albero delle Spezie, where brother and sister sell dried fruits, nuts, candied everything plus good quality spices sold in large packets (thank you!), organic cereals and oatmeal, Dr Stuart’s teas and other great products.
- This contadino produce stall sells the best looking kale, purple cauliflower and other seasonal vegetables directly pulled from his land near Cerveteri.
- Tutto Ghiotto is a fantastic gourmet deli that stocks only fresh artisanal goods, like prime quality olive oil from Puglia, tuna from Carloforte, miniature burrata cheese from Le Murge, delightful charcuterie and other cheeses hailing from Abruzzo and Le Marche. The best tiella di Gaeta are available. Tiella is a sensational savory pie whose shell is made of bread dough and stuffed with braised vegetables, seafood, cheese and, well, almost anything you can imagine. They also have a fryer and can prepare homemade olive ascolane (stuffed olives) and Sicilian arancini right before your eyes plus they deliver in the neighborhood. A bit pricey, though.
- The exotica box stocks all those impossible-to-find fresh foods that only a few places sell in Rome, like avocado, coconut milk, habanero and jalapeño chilies, manioca, okra, bok choi, platano, cilantro… and exotic condiments like sesame oil, mirin, fish sauce and non-MSG soy sauce.
- Carla’s stall offers eggs which are sourced at the Azienda Agricola Valle dei Casali, where chickens pluck corn in the free-range farm.
Mercato di San Giovanni di Dio
Open Monday to Saturday, 6:00 – 1:30 pm
Piazza San Giovanni di Dio, conveniently located across the street from the #8 tram stop on Circonvallazione Gianicolense.
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All images © Eleonora Baldwin
Eleonora Baldwin is a TV host, journalist, and culinary connoisseur based in Rome, Italy. Her writing appears in several food and travel publications. Her show “ABCheese” is broadcast on Italian food network Gambero Rosso. She loves guiding culturally curious, food-passionate travellers seeking experiences in Italy beyond the guidebook.