Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Markets of Rome: Campo dè Fiori

I wanna start this series of posts about some of the most interesting and "traditional" shopping places in Rome with one of my favourites, the mercato of Campo dè Fiori.
The place is called like this ("Field o' Flowers") because originally it was occupied by a meadow filled with flowers, closed on a side by a series of buildings owned by the Orsini family.
After a series of reconstructions and urban rearrangements during the Middle Age and the early Reinassance, the style of the square is difficult to classify and recognize, but besides the market it still offers a good amount of places of interest to spot: the architecture buffs can enjoy the fifteenth-century Palazzo Orsini Righetti and the Reinassance design of Palazzo della Cancelleria; those of you who have a soft spot for anecdotes can take a peek at the Fontana della Terrina and even dare to look for its "original", now placed in front of the church of Santa Maria in Vallicella; the fan of historical gossip may enjoy a look at the gate of the old Taverna della Vacca, owned by Vannozza dei Cattanei, the lover of Pope Alexander VI, whom she bore four children, the famous Cesare, Lucrezia, Giovanni and Gioffre Borgia; the religious spirits may take a stroll along Via del Pellegrino, part of the "Papal Road" from Lateran to Vatican's churches, after checking out the church of Santa Brigida by , once facing the square-- and last but not least, those of you who support freedom of thought, may take a moment to pay a silent tribute by looking at the intense statue of Giordano Bruno, the Dominican friar and philosopher, burnt at the stake in that very place in 1600, that now looks down the market in the morning and the roman movida at night, in my opinion not so very pleased by "the century predicted by him"--

The market can be visited from 6 am to 2 pm, on every day but Sunday.
Originally this market was placed by the Capitol Hill, in the so-called Piazza del Mercato, now Piazza d'Aracoeli.
In 1478 it was moved to Piazza Navona, contributing to develop the area into a major "shopping point" even at the time.
The definitive moving to the current location happened in 1869, in an attempt to valorize the area and try to forget its infamous past as an execution ground during the centuries of the Inquisition.

Here are some shots of the market, took some time ago:

Be aware, though!
Despite being the "heart" of popular Rome, you can't escape some "tourist traps" like the multi-coloured pasta (seriously-- did you ever spot an Italian eating such things?) or the infamous "fettuccine all'Alfredo", that after being "bought" by Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks in 1920, spread everywhere in the world in the most demented combinations to please the uncultured taste of tourists:

Of course, besides the food, you can find the fortuitous stand with cheap souvenirs, expecially t-shirts.
Here are those that I found funnier: please note the square of the market depicted into one of the shots of the "Vice City"'s t-shirt:

And I finally close this post with an example of "popular justice" concerning food:
"The ladies who will be caught while feeling the fruit, will be felt up in return."

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