5 Best Food Markets in Italy: Campo dei Fiori, Rialto Fish Market & More

July 10, 2023

One of the most exciting and authentic aspects of Italy’s cities are their food markets. Whether they’re selling produce, fish, meat, or all of the above, They’r one of the best ways to get to know a region’s local food culture. If, like us, you’re interested in eating seasonally they are also the best place to figure out what is in season (read our blog post for more on how to eat seasonally in Italy).

But markets can be hard to find. You have to know where to go and, more importantly, when to go, to catch them in full swing. Don’t worry: we’ve got you covered. Here are five of our favorite markets in Rome, Florence, Venice, and more!

Florence food tour and market visit

At the Sant’Ambrogio market, which we explore on our Florence food tour.

Our picks for the best food markets in Italy

Ballarò Food Market, Palermo

This thousand-year-old market features food stall after food stall, with every kind of (in-season!) food and type of produce: fresh ricotta,  artichokes, snails, lamb shanks, squash, spices—the list goes on. And the prices are excellent!

But even if you’re not grocery-shopping, it’s worth paying a visit to soak up the authentic atmosphere and, of course, to buy some street snacks: arancine, sfincione, and pane con panelle are just some of the delicious foods you can enjoy right there.

The Ballarò food market, located at Palazzo Reale, is open every day but Sunday. If you want to know more great things to see in Palermo, read our city guide to Palermo.

Pignasecca Food Market, Naples

Pignasecca is the oldest outdoor food market in Naples—which is really saying something, since Naples has some 60 markets throughout the city! It’s famous not just for its inexpensive, seasonal fruits and vegetables, but for its top-notch pastries, cheeses, and breads. And since there’s nary a tourist to be seen, the opportunities to observe Neapolitans in their natural habitat—shopping for food, and eating food—are endless.

The Pignasecca market is located on Via Pignasecca, and open every day. For more must-try food experiences, check out our blog on the best food near Naples’ train station.

Pignasecca food market in Naples

Campo dei Fiori market, Rome

This is, without a doubt, the most colorful market in Rome’s centro storico! Once a site of public executions today, the beautiful square bustles with vendors selling produce, oils, vinegars, spices, and other random goods (from espresso makers to teaspoons!). The outdoor market gets started first thing in the morning, and vendors start putting their goods away in the early afternoon, so for a real taste—in more ways than one—get there early.

The Campo dei Fiori market, located on the piazza of the same name, is open every day but Sunday.

Campo dei Fiori, one of the best markets in Italy.

You’ll find chocolates, truffles, and more at the Campo dei Fiori market.

Sant’Ambrogio food market, Florence

The neighborhood of Sant’Ambrogio, about a 12-minute walk from Florence’s Duomo, is one of the oldest quarters in Florence. Today, it’s also one of the most authentic and residential. So locals make their way to the market here every day to buy not only produce, bread, cheeses, meats, and fish, but even clothing and furniture! Because most tourists (and tour groups) head to the Mercato Centrale, the atmosphere here is much more relaxed—and better for people-watching. Just remember that, like many of these markets, it’s closed Sunday and closes at 2pm every day but Wednesday and Friday (when it’s open until 7pm).

The Sant’Ambrogio Market is located at Piazza Ghiberti and open every day but Sunday. To get an idea of the type of foods you’ll find in this market, read our post on the foods you need to try in Umbria and Tuscany.

Florence Tour Sant'Ambrogio market

Sant’Ambrogio Market is the perfect place to sample the best of Tuscan specialities!

Rialto Fish Market, Venice

Venice’s best restaurants have been getting their fresh fish here for centuries. This fish market, located at the Campo della Pescaria in San Polo, boasts stall after stall of fishermen unloading their goods, caught right in the lagoon. Get here early if you want the full experience: The market opens at 7am (and closes at about 2pm), and shoppers in the know come first thing in the morning to get their pick of the catch.

Venice food tour Rialto market

Fresh octopus and shrimp at the Rialto Fish Market in Venice.

Just keep in mind the market is closed on Sunday and Monday. This is why Venetians refrain from ordering fish at restaurants on Mondays – it’s unlikely to be fresh. If you like seafood you’ll love our guide to eating fish in Italy!).

The Rialto fish market is located in San Polo, Campo della Pescaria, and open every day but Sunday and Monday.

Want to explore the Rialto fish market with a local Venetian guide? Check out our Tastes & Traditions of Venice: Food Tour with Rialto Market Visit!

by Walks of Italy

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