Step inside Italian food paradise on your next trip to Rome at “Mercato Centrale Roma” – Central Market Rome.
“When food is prepared with high quality ingredients by the hands of expert and passionate food artisans it is always good”
This quote is so true for so many different cuisines around the world but especially true for Italian food. Italy has such a long tradition of using only the very best, fresh local ingredients to create their food. This is why when you travel across Italy the food options available are so compelling.
It might be a relatively small country, but because of an endless variety of micro-climates and different regional traditions Italy has over 220 products that are PDO & IGP – meaning their exact production method, origin and quality is strictly controlled. That doesn’t even include all the protected wine varieties!
Combined with Italy’s 1st class fresh produce, you can’t help but discover a world of unique cuisine countrywide. Including many dishes which are rarely seen in Italian restaurants abroad. Freshness and a commitment to quality is what makes discovering the local cuisine of Italy such an inspiring foodie adventure.
For anyone visiting Italy for the first time (or even the 5th time tbh) the main hub city will most likely be Rome. With it’s grand history, architecture and of course it’s celebrated food scene, Rome is always a fantastic jumping off point.
If you don’t have time to visit the whole country, the ideal place in the heart of the city to begin your culinary journey, and dip into the incredible selection of cuisine Italy has to offer, is Mercato Centrale Roma – Or Central Market Rome, in English.
Mercato Centrale Roma is Rome’s top local artisan food market. Located in the Termini Station – Rome’s central rail station – it’s super easy to find and to access no matter where you are staying in Rome. This is the sister artisanal market to Mercato Centrale Florence which opened in 2014 and we visited in 2015. What a great place!
The smells that waft through the air are enough to get you salivating and wanting to try absolutely everything on offer. I tell you the hardest part about visiting these markets is that too often your eyes are too big for your bellies and you can’t possibly eat your way through everything you’d like to try.
The Mercato Centrale Roma is set up in a very similar way to the one in Florence where you get to peruse the very best in Roman and Italian cuisine with the cities best food stores all located under one roof.
From perfectly baked bread and pastries from Gabriele Bonci the man known as “The Michelangelo of Pizza” to a specialised truffle stand ran by the Savini family, who entered Guinness World Records back in 2007 for the most expensive truffle sold. By the way, it weighed 1.497 kg, and sold for $330.000 USD!
There is even a great selection for vegan and vegetarian visitors – check out Il Vegetariano e Vegano which is known for their organic and certified ingredients. There is of course an amazing selection of pizza and pasta and other traditional Italian dishes to devour.
If you’ve had too much Italian food (as if that’s even possible) they also have a few Asian specialty stores to choose from. The twist is, those Asian stores use only the very best Italian ingredients in their creations.
You can then finish up with some famous speciality desserts and, of course, gelato!
Strolling through the locally sourced and oh-so-fresh fruit and vegetable stalls, you’ll eventually stumble upon artisan cheeses and fresh pasta, local meats and more, that you can take away with you if you wish to cook your own Italian masterpieces.
It is Italy, so I’m sure you wondering – “what can we wash all of this delicious food down with?”
Well, Mercato Centrale Roma has you covered there too, with wine stores like Il Vino al bicchiere that sell wine by the glass and by the bottle. La Birreria is the go to place for lovers of the Italian beer. Here you will find beer by Luigi Moretti brewery, an Italian company that’s been around since 1859 and still make their products according to traditional methods.
For those seeking a great cup of coffee then head to La Caffetteria. Not only can you find a freshly brewed cup of Italian coffee here but they also have blends from Indonesia, Colombia, Ethiopia and more. These blends are chosen depending on the season to make sure you get only the freshest and highest quality caffeine infusion to help you have the energy for sightseeing the rest of Rome!
For the ultimate dining experience though you really can’t miss 2 star Michelin Chef Oliver Glowig and his restaurant “La tavola, il vino e la dispensa”. Chef Glowig is known for his painstaking research of the best regional Italian cuisine and then interpreting them into modern creations. At La tavola, il vino e la dispensa you can try some of his most popular dishes including: “eliche cacio e pepe ai ricci di mare” (eliche pasta with cheese, pepper and sea urchins), “tortelli di coda vaccinara” (tortelli pasta in oxtail stew) and other Roman specialties like the “risotto all’amatriciana”. With 2 Michelin stars under his belt and the fact that Oliver Glowig is a renown ambassador of the Italian gastronomic culture – you are sure to have an unforgettable dining experience.
Mercato Centrale Roma isn’t just about the food, the location itself is very important as well!
The Mercato Centrale Roma project was designed to revive a historic area of the city that had been left deserted for many years. The conecpt was to bring people back to this area of town, both locals and tourists alike, to rejuvenate an important and vibrant piece of Rome.
The market is located in an old railway dining hall and the centrepiece of this project is the famous “Cappa Mazzoniana”, which is a giant grey marble kitchen hood that is over 10 m tall, 15 m long and 4 m wide. The Cappa Mazzoniana has been fully restored today and is an important part of Rome’s history as it was designed by the famous Italian architect Angiolo Mazzoni back in the 1930’s.
Mercato Centrale Roma describes itself as a place where you can “taste, buy, discover, listen, read and so much more: it is an important place of cultural exchange for people.”
The creators built it as a place for both locals and tourists to gather and “aims to go back to the basics and talk about the essence of food, simple flavors and traditions, because good food doesn’t need chatter; it speaks volumes all by itself.” And that is so true! The language of food – freshly sourced and made food, transcends everything and takes all who tries it on a journey into the incredible cultures of Italy both old and new.
Address: Mercato Centrale Roma: via Giolitti 36, Termini station, Rome.
The Market is close to many points of interest like the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, the Terme di Diocleziano, the Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, the Palazzo del Quirinale, Trajan’s Market, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Venezia, Altare della Patria, Roman Forum and the Colosseum
Official website: http://www.mercatocentrale.it/roma
(Check here for any upcoming events while you are in town, the market offers many free and public events dedicated to music, art, science, and culture)
⇒ Looking for more things to do in Rome? Check Out our 2 Day Rome Whirlwind Itinerary
⇒ Or if you need someone to stay we have an article about the Best Locations to stay in Rome