The title of this page is "Where in Rome to Buy..." without a specific ending, because I I have collected a list of things people have asked me about over the years. I thought you might find it useful to have one place to look for all that stuff you want to buy in Rome, but aren't sure where to find it.
Fresh black summer truffles at the farmer's market in Rome - nope, you cannot take these home, sorry!
Where in Rome to Buy - What's on your list?
Over the years of helping so many of our hotel guests find things in Rome, I have a pretty good idea of what people want to buy here. Some of it's what you'd expect: foods to take home, shoes, art.
But I've also had a lot of questions about plenty of other things people look for in Rome, so here's a list of them, and where in Rome to buy them.
Chess games, Yarn, Vinyl records/cds (and other hobby items)
Books in English
Where in Rome to Buy ... Food to take home
It's pretty common to fall in love with the food in Rome, and often people ask me where they can get truffles to take home.
Truffles don't grow just anywhere in the world. Most truffle connouisseurs will tell you that the best ones grow primarily in Italy and France.
Also, truffles are seasonal. You will find the tastiest truffles starting around October.
So, they are a special thing and not always easy to come by. And the real thing is not cheap.
Fresh black (or white if you can find them) truffles (tartufo or tartufi in Italian) like you find at the market (and in the photo at the top of this page) are not ok to take home with you. They will rot quickly, and are probably against any Customs rules back home where you live.
But you can bring home truffles in a jar. They come several ways: Whole black truffles, sliced truffles, or truffles mixed into a spread.
Truffle spreads like these are ideal to take home. Yum!
If you bring back whole black truffles in a jar, you will want to get them right before you fly home, and use them right when you get home. They barely have any shelf life, I am talking about a few days max (I found this out the hard way, sadly.)
But sliced truffles are preserved in oil, and they are just fabulous on top of pasta, steak, eggs (oh yes eggs!), bruschetta and anything else you can think of. An unopened jar of these will last quite a while.
Truffle spreads are the easiest to use and to keep. They also make great gifts. This usually involves truffles blended to form a spread you can use with bruschetta or crostini. So now, where in Rome to buy these truffles in jars?
To get whole black truffles in a jar, you can usually find them here:
Gourmet food emporium Castroni, which has branches throughout Rome.
Specialty food shop Eats underneath Coin on via Cola di Rienzo.
Eataly, the giant Italian-food mall (Ostiense but soon coming to Repubblica.)
Try also some well-stocked, well-known salumeria (deli shops), such as Paciotti (Prati), Volpetti (Trastevere and Testaccio), and Salumeria F.lli Ciavatta (Trevi Fountain.)
Jars of sliced truffles or truffle spreads are much easier to find:
Many Rome food markets sell them (such as at Campagna Amica, pictured above).
Many supermarkets in Rome sell one or both types of truffle product.
Truffle restaurant and shop Tartufi and Friends, near the Spanish Steps, has a lot of truffle products for sale.
First of all you should be aware of any restrictions in your home country for bringing home cheeses from abroad. In the US, it is ok to bring home pasteurized cheeses that are vacuum-sealed. So none of the goopy stinky cheeses (which are yummy of course, just stinky), and no mozzarella or burrata.
But taking home Parmesan cheese, or Pecorino Romano, is fine. Just make sure it's vacuum-sealed. You can get these at the duty-free shop at the airport but your choice there is slim and it's not any great savings. Go to a great deli or cheese shop in Rome, and get your cheese there.
My favorite cheese shop in Rome is Antica Caciara Trasteverina. They will let you taste before you buy, and everyone is very friendly. But there are lots of cheese shops and delis (salumeria) around Rome.
Well I can tell you where to buy this stuff but you cannot take any of it back to the US. Other countries may have different rules but no matter what you have heard, it's not legal to bring back to the US any meats, even processed meats, even vacuum-sealed. At all.
But if you want to buy it because you want to eat it while you are here, fine. The truth is that many supermarkets in Rome carry a lot of choices of these products, so you don't have to look hard. Otherwise, you can visit some amazing salumeria like the ones I mentioned above (Paciotti, Volpetti, etc.)
Where in Rome to Buy - some typical or locally made things as gifts or souvenirs
The two streets with the biggest concentration of antiques in Rome are:
via dei Coronari, behind Piazza Navona
via del Boschetto, in the Monti neighborhood near the Coliseum
via Giulia behind Campo dei Fiori
These streets used to be chock-a-block with antique shops, one after the other. The antique market has changed a lot and there are fewer of these stores now, but you will still find some excellent shops and amazing products if you know how to spot them. Also try the streets that branch off of these, as there will be more antique shops around them as well.
Rome Antique Markets
There are a few places you can go marketing for antiques in Rome. Here are just a couple of the most popular:
Porta Portese - Rome's largest flea market. Every Sunday morning. Mostly lots of junk but you never know!
Ponte Milvio - the oldest dedicated antique street market in Rome. Every first and second Sunday of the month (except in August.) Along the banks of the tiber, between Ponte Milvio and Ponte Duca D'Aosta. This market is dedicated specifically to antiques - everything from furniture to jewellery to paintings. Online info about when the market is held ranges is all over the map. Here is the website (Italian only) so you can double check.
Sketches of Old Rome
I've been asked this one quite a few times. There is a really nice little shop on via dei Coronari, 84.
If you just want some cd's, you can go to any large bookstore like Feltrinelli (one at piazza Repubblica, another near Campo dei Fiori).
But if you are looking for a more esoteric and complete selection of music from all over the world, check out La Discoteca al Pantheon di Giostra Letizia, or what I call, the record store by the pantheon. Via della Minerva, 10.
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