Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rome’s Farmers Market, Campo dei Fiori

This is my favorite photo of the farmers market, Campo dei Fiori, Saturday, Central Rome.  Color, texture, cobblestones, bay leaf bottom right.  Braided garlic and onions.  Please click on the photos for full views.  Say it with me, ahhhhhh…..


Filippo, our guide in Tuscany, recognized this farmer (at right) immediately; he is the best of the market as I also sussed; look at the fresh chilies with gourds in the background; more bay leaf at left; amazing~


Perfection; everything the Roman chef could would want…..

Not to mention a master of display; the staples of Italian cooking, artfully displayed in a vintage bike basket~


There were many charming modes of farmers’ transport; complete with perfectly-arranged basket of carciofi in the bed~


There were many beans, here fava, note the origin is on most tags, here Lazio, the area around Rome~


There fine green beans~


and here peas, de Lazio~


Lettuces, washed, displayed beautifully in baskets~


Some local varieties like Chicory from  Lazio~IMG_4394

And more Chicory, fresh and beautiful and light, showing the hands of someone who cares for it until the moment it is taken home to be eaten~

IMG_4392I mentioned Romans love “prepared” food. That means shelled peas~


trimmed artichokes, oh how I miss these now!!!~


And salad fresh, washed, ready to eat.  To Die for Salad; no brown edges, no wilting, this is fresh~


Next time I visit Rome I hope to cook; look at this~


and this, baby broccoli~


In San Diego last week, Sage Mountain was selling this also, Radicchio Tardivo or late Radicchio; here in Rome it was perfection~

IMG_4469The mushrooms lined up with such care.  Everything was done at this market with great attention~


Puntarelle was in various stands; this is the tips off the chicory plant, mostly for salad I think.  “Pulite” means it’s clean, so ready to eat.  Adorable little bundles of peppers….


Here is a better view of the Puntarelle~


There was some amazing green Cauliflower, I see this one and a variant in Palisades~


I was amazed by banks and banks of sundried tomatoes~


These deserve their own post later~


And of course, I have to include the Tomato-red truck to match~


It’s early season, most of the tomatoes were green.  I do know know yet if the Italians do a lot of greenhouse-gardening.


Note both of these come from Sicily, nothing from Lazio, and expensive at 6.50 and 5 euros the kilo~


Dried pasta was on offer, nothing fresh, in an extensive range; was this for tourists?  I guess so, because I bought two bags~


Fresh eggs, also displayed to perfection~


Did you see the fraises du bois in my Santa Monica farmers market post?  Here are the Italian versions.  One poor one here on top, but these are the real deal, and the reason why I will buy these in Europe but not in California~


On the other hand, their strawberries still seemed a little early; eat lots of strawberries in California and lots of artichokes in Italy~


One vendor had exotic fruits, berries, even gorgeous red currants.  Doesn’t this show well on the ferns~


Ringing the square, which was at one time a field full of flowers, hence its name, are shops such as this one.  A purveyor selling meats, olive oil and various provisions~


At the door, enormous rounds of Parmigiano Reggiano~


At the market, wine was also on offer; this is a first for me, I don’t remember any other market where I’ve see wine for sale, next to olive oil~


Local color and ambience is important to any market.  Here we had a man demonstrating a device that will do everything, including peel carrots, slice and dice….an Italian Slap Chop I guess?


He had a whole routine, which he went through with me in French.  He had little props like the plastic fish and chicken, to show you that you can scale the fish. At the end, he dipped the end in the bubble-solution bottom of this pic, and demonstrated that he could blow bubbles with it.   It was highly entertaining, and I bought one, to slice my “Italian vegetables” this summer~


Not sure the value of this; garnish?  But it was an effective presentation~


The human aspect is what really makes a market.  Who does not respond to people who are big, passionate and vocal?  Italy, France or America, the colorful characters who give us consistently great product and who make this their passion are the people we keep coming back to, each week. 


For each photo I have shown you here, I have 5 others.  This is a rather small market, smaller than I imagined.  I understand there is another close to the Vatican that is larger, and sells fish.  But it goes to show you, many of the medium sized markets are best if they have a select group of vendors. 

There are two schools here in SoCal.  There are the “big” markets, and then the smaller markets.  Rome was interesting in that it was a smaller market, filled with the best of the best.  Size does not matter for market quality.  Another discussion.  Hope you enjoyed your tour~



  1. What a lovely website and blog you have. Lovely pics

  2. I would so wear that braided garlic as a necklace. Truly. In Transylvania.

    Stinky French cheese here I come. :)

  3. How I wish I could gather up all my fava beans and eggs at this market.

  4. Such beautiful pictures! I would love to go to a european outdoor market! :)

  5. Oooooooooooo. Such treasures!! Those tomatoes look picture perfect!

  6. I could get lost for hours in this beautiful market! Gorgeous! Can you imagine all the wonderful dishes just waiting to be made!!!!
    Thank you for the wonderful tour!

  7. Andrea,

    Finally catching up on your latest posts and so enjoying the fine fresh and colorful veggies and fruits and more!

    Can you put a botton up in your sidebar to send blog friends over to our Fashionable Giveaway from you, The French Basketeer!

    Art by Karena