Dilit Italian School

Roman Ancient Markets - Porta Portese & More

One of the things that practically every country in the world has in common is... the market! Raise your hand if you have never had the pleasure, at least once in your life, to wander around a market! Markets where used goods are sold, markets where they sell fresh food and many local delicacies, markets for antiques, used books, clothing and so on and so on!

What about Rome?

In Rome it can be said that each neighbourhood has its own market, more or less large, which opens its stalls early in the morning, at least twice a week or even every day. There, in a profusion of colours and smells, you go to your favourite greengrocer, who usually sells the products of his land, to the butcher or fishmonger, to the cheese seller, but you can also find stalls of new and used clothes, bags, shoes, underwear and things for the home and many other interesting items. It is certainly an experience that has to be done to completely immerse yourself in the culture of this city.

The Porta Portese Market

In Rome, among the many well-known markets such as Campo de' Fiori, Testaccio and Via Sannio, there is a very special one, which is considered to be the largest and most famous, the Porta Portese market. At Porta Portese anyone who lives in Rome, at least once in his life, has taken a trip to browse through a long river of stalls selling all kinds of things.

It is located in the less touristy part of the Trastevere district, a district that is considered the heart of Rome and is one of the oldest markets in Europe. We know that it takes its name from the entrance with the same name that led to Via Portuense, a road that in the imperial age and still now connects Rome to the port of Fiumicino. It can be said that it was the... Entrance of the Port. This gate was built in the seventeenth century to replace the ancient Porta Portuensis, as a passage in the walls of the Aurelian Walls.

The Porta Portese market, on the other hand, was born in 1945, at the end of World War II. There, the Romans during the post-war depression sold or bartered their goods, but with the passage of time, the Porta Portese market became bigger and bigger and as a result, this spontaneous activity was eventually regulated.

In the last census, which dates back to 2007, it was estimated that there were 714 stall holders with a regular license and about 400 who do not have a fixed place.

Today, Italian street vendors have been joined by immigrants from all over the world, transforming it into a truly multi-ethnic market. The result is a remarkable mixture of cultures, perhaps a mirror of what Rome has always been.

A piece of advice: go there on foot or by public transport, because it is practically impossible to find parking in the surroundings.

The market is only open on Sunday mornings from 6.00 to 14.00, when hundreds of people flock to its stalls to buy, apart from new and used clothing, also vintage goods of all kinds, bicycles and accessories for cars and motorcycles, militaria, antiques, collectibles of various kinds and much more.

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