Written by Julia Silk,
Last Modified: 23rd June 2023

Food is the beating heart of Italy. And you won’t find another nation more passionate about food. 

There is so much local produce available in Italy, it’s why the cuisine is so rich and fresh. Most chefs in Italy buy their produce locally from markets or the harbour (for seafood). If you’re a fellow foodie, discover six of the best food markets in Italy today

Mercato Sant’Ambrogio in Tuscany, Italy

Florence, Tuscany

The Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio is only 8 minutes’ walk from Piazza di Santa Croce. Located in a structure dating back to the 1860s you’ll discover freshly baked loaves, aged pecorino cheeses, and a vast assortment of cured meats and salami. An apartment in this part of Florence can cost from around €260,000, but you can find studio flats for as little as €120,000.

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Rome, Lazio

The Testaccio area, by the Tiber river, was where much of the river trade took place in Ancient Rome. Nowadays, the new Mercato di Testaccio is a modern building of 5,000-square metres and has a vast selection of fruit and vegetable sellers, butchers and fishmongers, circled around a central “piazza”, complete with a cafe overlooking Roman ruins. As well as selling produce, there are many outlets selling lunch snacks. Apartments in this area start at around €325,000.

Fresh seafood for sale Ballaro mercanto, Palermo

Palermo, Sicily

Ballarò market is full of activity all day long, and stretches for several streets southeast of Palazzo dei Normanni. It is a fascinating mix of aromas, colours and the sounds of street life. You will hear the noisy calls (abbanniate) of cheeky characters trying to attract you to their stalls. As well as seasonal vegetables you’ll find ricotta, anchovies, spices, capers, olives and citrus fruits.

Ballarò market is also famous for its amazing street food. The most well-known Sicilian street foods are the fried arancini (rice balls) and slices of sfincione, a thick pizza topped with tomatoes, olives and oregano. Also, try the “pane e panelle”, a sesame bun filled with deep-fried chickpea flour dough. Apartments for sale in the Ballaro area start at around €120,000.

Asti, Piedmont

On Wednesday and Saturday mornings in Campo del Palio you will find all the local specialities, such as apples and chestnuts. An apartment in this area starts at about €120,000.

Mercato centrale, Bologna, Emilia Romagna

Bologna, Emilia Romagna

Mercato Centrale, runs between Via Pescerie Vecchie and Via Draperie. Here you will find some of the region’s specialities, such as mortadella, parmigiano-reggiano, egg pasta, and balsamic vinegar. Apartments in this zone cost around €240,000.

Venice, Veneto

You need to get up early to get the best of the catch at the fish market near the Realto Bridge. It is open every day except Sunday and Monday. One-bedroom apartments near the Realto Bridge and market, cost from €350,000.

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