When Americans travel to Europe, it’s tempting to say we’ve “done” Paris, or Amsterdam, or Florence, or wherever we’ve spent a couple days seeing the sites. You jump on the Hop On-Hop Off bus and race to see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre or get your picture taken with a guy in gladiator getup outside the Coliseum. It seems like before you know it, you’re jammed back into your seat on United heading to Newark.
The truth is, it’s wonderful skimming the beautiful surface of foreign cities. I am so grateful for what amounts to a glimpse of Prague, a little taste of Venice. I want to return EVERYWHERE, but what is equally compelling is wanting to go someplace NEW. If I ever win the lottery I’ll return to Ghent and Bamburg and Lucca. I also will make my first trips to Lisbon and Barcelona and Mikonos and . . . .
And I will return to Rome. I have been to the Eternal City five times, but you know what? On this last trip with my friend, Fran, I visited places I hadn’t seen before. Since Fran is a “foodie,” she was interested in markets and a cooking class and trying wines, and so on.
A new spot for me was the morning market at Campo de’ Fiori. I’d heard of the market, but just never found the time (or made it a priority) to check it out on previous visits.
As it turned out, it’s pretty touristy – but still worth a visit. I loved taking photos of the flower stalls and artistic displays of autumnal fruits and vegetables. I even saw some nuns shopping there, which is an iconic image you’ll probably find if you search online for photos of the place. I don’t know why, but nuns in old fashioned habits are picturesque – and especially in Rome, somehow. (The order of nuns at the church in my hometown dressed like 1950’s stewardesses on Air Vatican. Not a good look, even then.)
That reminds me of a word of advice I got on my first visit to Rome. If you’re at a busy intersection and intimidated by the traffic, look for a nun you can follow. You are guaranteed a safe crossing (thank you, Sister).
Back to Campo de’ Fiori. So, you won’t find any bargains, but it is fun to look at all the produce, pastas, scarves and even housewares. There are cafes ringing the market square where you can sip a cappuccino and watch the people, though be forewarned that you will pay a premium for that coffee and snack with a view. At night the area becomes a haunt for young, drunken people (I’m told) and the market itself starts shutting down around noon or so.
For more information, here’s a good site I found online:
Happy travels, and more about my cooking class in Rome is coming soon.