A guide to Supermarkets and grocery shopping in Rome
Rome is a vibrant and busy city. Once there you’ll find out that some supermarkets and grocery shops are small-sized. Yes! That it’s due to the fact that the “eternal city” has narrow streets and there are a lot of restrictions for historical buildings and landmarks.
For this reason, supermarkets and grocery stores offer a limited range of services. But usually, most Romans go to the shopping malls and big stores located in suburbs. They often buy a lot of food and grocery to avoid continuous pit stops at local stores.
Let’s move on with our guide to supermarkets and grocery shopping in Rome.
In the centre of Rome, there are major supermarkets chains operating. You’ll find Carrefour, Pam, Conad stores, Coop and many others.
Each chain has its own opening hours. Some are open non-stop between 8 am to 9 pm or maybe 10 pm it depends. Before you move check opening and closing hours on Google. You’ll find updated times and closing days.
The things are slightly different with the family-run grocery stores or delis. Opening hours can be tricky because some are open non-stop while ore closes down at lunch. You need to check their timetable that you’ll find on each door or window.
On specific days of the week, you can find open-air markets for groceries and food. Check on the web to find out the one near your zone. And don’t miss it! You’ll have plenty of fun buying food and vegetables in a proper roman open-air market.
Once in the open-air market take a look around and find the best bancarella (aka store) that meets your needs. Remember to ask the owner if you can choose your fruit and vegetables before touching food. If it’s fine with them, they will give you paper bags and you’ll be able to choose your vegetables and fruit.
Things are different in the supermarkets. You’ll need to wear plastic gloves to grab your vegetables and fruit. Each type of vegetable and fruit has its own code that you’ll need to insert while weighing the products.
And remember that each type of fruit and vegetable must be placed in a bag. To be clear: if you pick up 3 different types of vegetables, you’ll need to repeat the operation 3 times because every vegetable has a unique code to use. After weighing the products on the scale you’ll receive a label with the total price for your specific fruit or vegetable. You’ll need to put the label on the bag so the cashier will know exactly how much you’re going to pay for each item in the bag.
I know that it sounds a little strange and difficult but, if needed ask for help and people will be glad to help you!
You need to know that supermarkets have different rules, each bag has a cost ranging from 5 to 10 cents each. So, you’ll be paying for your bag. The good thing is that you can reuse the bag to throw away the wet waste. You’ll be helping the plant or so they say!
Fresh meat, seafood and bread are usually sold in kilos and their price is well displayed. If you don’t know ask the butcher or the employee at the counter to help you. Tell them how many people you are serving and they will prepare the right amount for you.
You can also find preweighted plastic boxes with the right amount of cured meat, poultry, slices of veal or salmon. Those will help you if you don’t know what to do with the amounts.
In some supermarkets or grocery stores, you’ll find people queueing up at the specific counter and waiting for their turn to order their food. Check if there is a ticket dispenser where you can grab your number and wait until it’s your turn.
Supermarkets and grocery stores accept your bank card. With the open-air market, you need to bring cash with you. Cash will be the only payment method accepted during a market. And remember that you pay separately at each and individual store you’ll go to.
Other Tips for you
Roman shopping carts need a coin to unlock them, so remember to bring with you 50 cents or 1 euro. If you can bring them both because you’ll never know which one to use!
If you don’t have them then ask the cashier, they usually have around token to unblock their cart. And you can give it back at the end of your shopping tour around their store.
If you need food, grocery or basic necessities ask Google Maps to help you find the nearest store! Or ask people, they will surely help you with directions to the nearest shop.