I woke at 2:30 a.m., made it safe and sound to the airport and am happily munching on a toasted bagel while I wait for my flight. 🙂
I am absolutely thrilled to bits to have my friend Tuula sharing a guest post here today!! I have never met Tuula in person, but online she is one of my favorite people with her kindness, jolly spirit and supportive nature. Tuula is an American living in France and writes a beautiful blog sharing her adventures in France and Italy. (Click here to visit her Le Petit France blog and say hello.) Today she takes us with her on a shopping trip through a Roman market.
As the temperatures begin to cool, and I find myself selecting over-sized scarves instead of sundresses, I can’t help but find myself in a very romantic mood. Call it the changing of the leaves, the anticipation of hearty meals capped with full-bodied wines, or simply the chance to slow down and explore the changing world around me, but fall is most certainly one of my favorite seasons.
And one of my favorite things to do during the fall months is explore: new regions, off-the-beaten track villages, and most certainly…town markets.
When I lived in Rome, I often worked near the well-know Testaccio market. Famed for many things, including the infamous “tomato man” who knows exactly which tomato works for each & every pasta dish (no small feat my friends), the market also retains its legendary status based on its proximity to another Roman foodie institution: Volpetti – a must-do stop for an with a love from gourmet Italian items (yeah, figure that includes just about everyone..). And while Provençal markets tend to become a bit subdued during the fall months, the Testaccio market is anything but quiet. Vibrant, colorful, and oh-so-Italian, the market is a perfect opportunity to explore the heart of Roman neighborhood-life.
And for that taste of neighborhood life, there’s nothing like arriving early (around 9am) and taking in the morning’s activities. There’s the women who washes and prepares the puntarelle (a Roman chicory) to be bagged and sold at her stand; the men who clean, prepare, and artfully display the fresh fish trucked-in from the Lazio coast; and since the majority of customers are locals who do their shopping there every day, there’s certainly no shortage of lively conversation. Topics range from pleasant inquires about shopper’s families to outright debates on anything from the correct ingredients for a traditional Roman Amatricana to the current shortcoming of the Roma soccer team.
And, if you get particularly lucky, you might just find yourself in front of some of Made in Italy’s finest apparel. Surrounding the market are shoe and clothing stalls that have incredible bargains if you’re willing to do a bit of searching. For around €15, and a bit of luck, you could come home with a pair of “Yes, I bought them in Italy aren’t they gorgeous?” handcrafted shoes. It happened to me one day, and yes, I bought two pairs.
Ahh, the sights & sounds of Rome mixed with a few pairs of gorgeous shoes- enough to make any gal happy about the change of seasons.