While the famous museums and sculptures in Italy bring us from the impressive history, the markets in the land of the boot will take us to the everyday life and the urban atmosphere of the wonderful country. In Italy you can find a variety of markets, of all types and styles. Those markets are almost always the beating heart of the city – they contain history, culture, unique cuisine, smells, colors and crowds of tourists and locals who wash over them every day. A visit to the Italian markets is definitely a must for anyone traveling in Italy. Every big city has several markets and every small village in Italy has a rich and traditional local market, so there are countless markets in the country. To put things in order, here are some of the recommended markets to visit in the country’s major cities, from north to south:
Mercato di Porta Palazzo – Turin
The largest market in Europe! Its area is about 50 dunams and it contains about 1,000 stalls. The authentic market is the main attraction in the northern city of Turin and every day it receives about 100 thousand visitors. In the Forte Palazzo market you can find a huge variety of goods: lots of fruits and vegetables, fish, dairy products, meat and street food, but also colorful flowers, art objects, clothing and household items.
- Address: Piazza della Repubblica
- Hours of operation: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 7:00-19:30
Antiques Market – Milan
A special market held in Milan once a month. You will find in the market a variety of works of art and ancient objects of all kinds. The view in the area is breathtaking – there are more than 400 stalls sitting on the banks of a canal opposite there are many cafes, galleries and shops. For those who visit the city and want a different experience from modern urbanism, this is definitely the place.
- Address: Alzaia Naviglio Grande 4
- Hours of operation: every last Sunday of the month, throughout the day
Rialto Fish Market – Venice
One of the oldest markets in Europe. Located in an area called “Campo della Pescaria”, near the famous bridge of Venice. The market began operating in the 11th century and for hundreds of years sold fish to the local residents. In recent years, fruits and vegetables have also begun to be sold in the market. Around the market there are many restaurants and taverns where you can enjoy a traditional atmosphere and taste the drinks and foods unique to the region.
- Address: Campiello de la Pescaria
- Hours of operation: Tuesdays to Saturdays, 7:30-13:00
The Oriental Market – Genova (Mercato Orientale – Genova)
Thanks to its lively port, the Italian city of Genoa is a meeting place of diverse cultures. The local market in it is one of the best examples of this. In the market you can find all kinds of food, from fish and spices to mushrooms and vegetables. There are also many flower stands that come from the nearby city, San Remo, known for its fine and extensive flower production.
- Address: Via XX Settembre 75r
- Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday, 7:30-19:30
Mercato di Mezzo – Bologna
If you are visiting the city of Bologna and desire fine local delicacies, Mazo market is definitely the recommended option. The market is located right in the center of the city (the meaning of the word mezo in Italian is middle) and has been operating continuously for about 600 years! Every day a wide variety of street foods and food items are sold in the market, the kind sellers will offer you fresh tastings straight from their hands and you can even enjoy an exciting personal show of preparing the food in front of you.
- Address: Via Clavature 12
- Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday, 9:00-00:00
The Central Market – Florence (Mercato Centrale – Florence)
A particularly lively and authentic market located in the heart of Florence. The market is particularly large and consists of two parts, covered and open, where the covered part is an ancient building that has been renovated. Inside the building you can taste the fine Tuscan cuisine, famous all over the world. The stimulating smells and spectacular colors in the place will give you an experience and a taste of the good life in Italy, it is not for nothing that it is called by many as the “Disneyland of food”. The open part of the market is called “San Lorenzo” and includes the streets surrounding the market building. In San Lorenzo you can find clothing, ceramics, souvenirs and various leather goods.
- Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell’Ariento
- Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday, 8:00-00:00
Porta Portese (flea market) – Rome (Porta Portese – Rome)
The most famous market in Italy, which unsurprisingly is located in the beautiful capital Rome. The market was established after World War II and became an Italian symbol and a source of inspiration for many artists and writers. Traders from all over the world – Indians, Moroccans, Chinese and more – make the place particularly multicultural and diverse and thus one of the most well-known and beloved markets in continental Europe. Unlike the other markets, in this market you will not find food items, but mostly artisan products, fashion items, souvenirs and decorative items.
- Address: Piazza di Porta Portese
- Hours of operation: Sundays, 6:30-14:00
Porta Nolana Fish Market – Naples (Porta Nolana Fish Market – Naples)
One of the busiest markets in Italy. Located in the market square in the city of Naples in southern Italy. The market contains a large number of stalls and is mainly famous for the fresh fish sold there every day, in addition to fruits, vegetables and clothing. Despite its name, the Porta Nolana market is considered the best place in Italy, and even in the world, to buy the famous Italian cheese – mozzarella from buffalo milk (mozzarella di bufala).
- Address: Via Cesare Carmignano
- Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday, 8:00-18:00
Ballaro Market – Palermo
A particularly experiential market, offering a taste of the Mediterranean life in Italy. It contains a mixture of energetic southern merchants, delicious food, local produce and the everyday hustle and bustle that represents the familiar and warm Sicilian atmosphere. If you visit the market, don’t miss out on trying the “panelle” – a fried food that is considered one of the best Sicilian street foods.
- Address: Via Ballaro 1
- Hours of operation: Monday to Saturday, 9:00-19:00