A favourite tourist pastime in the home of the pizza is browsing the many Italian food markets found in every city, neighbourhood, town and village. It’s a wonderful way to join the locals going about their daily business; and the variety of cheese, salumi, preserves, meat, seafood, bread, vegetables and fruit is head-spinning.
There’s always something new to discover that you’ve never seen before. Here is a list of our favourite Italian food markets.
This outdoor market tucked alongside the Rialto bridge is one the best in Venice. There are loads of fresh fish market, vendors with their buckets of trimmed artichoke hearts – also enjoy a panini and glass of red wine at bar Al Mercà afterwards.
This collection of small, packed-to-the-rafters shops lining narrow laneways off Piazza Maggiore is the place to buy all sorts of produce, plus specialties like bronze presses for making passatelli pasta. Lunch on a bar stool at La Baita outside Vecchia Malga deli is a delicious way to people watch.
Mercato Centrale, Florence
This ornate, glass-ceilinged two-storey market underwent a major refurbishment in 2014, creating a huge artisanal food court on the first floor, while the traditional vendors remain on ground level. You will love the schiacciata (Tuscan flatbread) at Pany da Lory and leather shopping at the outside stalls.
Campo de’ Fiori, Rome
Rome has many food markets – but this one near Piazza Navona in the historic centre is perhaps the oldest. Once a meadow (the name means ‘field of flowers’), a horse market, and a place of public execution, it’s smaller than many but vibrant and brimming with character.
The fish and produce market at the bottom of the old city of Catania, at the base of Mt Etna, is a huge warren of streets, stalls, carts, smells and noise – reminiscent of an Arabic souk.