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Trastevere / Testaccio / Aventino

Porta Portese - Bargaining Roman Style

21/01/2016
Porta Portese - Bargaining Roman Style

On Sundays there are many things available to do, go to a park and chill, visit a museum, go enjoy a fancy lunch, or visit Rome’s super classic and historic open-air Sunday market Porta Portese. Every Saturday night the first two kilometres of Via Portuense in Trastevere is closed off to give space to the hundreds of shopkeepers who make up one of the most colourful, chaotic and legendary markets of the Eternal City.

There is no limit to what you can find here, there are a gazillion of stands with big heaps of clothes from some godforsaken year in the late 1980’s for a few euros (if you’re lucky only 50 cents) a piece. The potential for finding that one awesome piece that might fit perfectly (it’s an open air market so trying clothes on properly depends entirely on your perception of modesty) is not as slim as it might appear at first, but it takes some dedication.

Naturally the market has much more to offer than 2nd hand (or 3rd or 4th) clothes, there are several shops who sell real value (cough) vintage and handmade furniture, LP’s, fabrics, retro sunglasses, sewing attire, plants, craft supplies, pretty much anything you can imagine and then some. The usual starting point is Porta Portese, the gate where the market begins, and should you be more into technical knick-knack then don’t miss th e little road behind the main streak that starts on the corner of Via Ippolito Nievo and Via Napoleone Parboni. Here you can find strange phones, hand-made bikes (you know, those hipster double frame deathtraps) and a snug little porn movie stall (with carton walls to hide the less than modest contents and visitors) that is a gracious remnant of the pre-internet era, though strangely enough still well visited.

The market has become vastly popular and is heavily visited so a recommendation is to go there on a rainy Sunday. Doesn’t sound much fun? Well, here’s why. Negotiating is still very much a thing here, though on a  nice Sunday when there are thousands of people strolling by the shopkeepers are much less inclined to give you that awesome price that most likely is still somewhat of a rip-off. However, on rainy days, when the market is a sad spectacle of hooded figures crouching under their umbrellas, that’s when you can really manage to get back home with bags and bags of really cool stuff without having to break a single 20 Euro bill.

For many romans visiting the market has become a tradition and is a moment for people watching more than for buying cheap stuff we most likely don’t need (let’s be honest, we never do). It’s in places like Porta Portese where the Romano de’ Roma (Roman from Rome, a mythological creature that might never have existed) shows himself in his full glory, in all shapes, colours and sizes, speaking all the worlds tongues.

 

Every Sunday approximately from 08:00-14:00, depending on the weather

Piazza di Porta Portese

 

 

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