Parco Romano Biodistretto and the Mercato Contadino Ariccia

Once stationed next to the Montegentile Sporting Club, the Mercato Contadino Ariccia moved right across the roundabout to its new home in the Parco Romano Biodistretto in October 2019.  Nestled in the Montegentile woods, this open air local farmers market is not to be missed.


Why? On market days,  jazzy music is lightly being pumped out. The wooden path which guides you around the stands and the forested backdrop all add to the earthy vibe.  The green wheeled gardening baskets, provided to facilitate your shopping, add an esthetic touch. But most of all, I enjoy buying from producers whose farms are in my area and in many cases even the same town, talking to them directly and purchasing the freshest produce and products that you can't find in other regions or supermarkets.


Mercato Contadino Ariccia is one of 10 markets part of the  Mercati Contadini Roma e Castelli Romani, a network of produce markets where you can find fresh, quality,  seasonal food products at reasonable prices.  Their sustainable, "Km 0" (locally sourced) principles are easy to support: Local producers sell directly to the customers, resulting in cutting out middlemen and lowering the environmental impact of chain distribution. They offer the chance to support local farmers and elevate our territory. The markets guarantee locally grown, genuine, healthy foods, help the area’s economy and also offer local products you can't find elsewhere.


The markets are located throughout the Castelli and in Rome, but I tend to shop Mercato Contadino Aricca,  at the Parco Romano Biodistretto, which is open on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.


As rule of thumb, once at the market I always take a loop around before I buy anything. In Ariccia, most vendors have beautiful seasonal fruits and vegetables, but there are also stands of flowers, cheese, honey, bread, pasta,  snails (!), meat, jams and wine. 


The stalls are set up in an oval,  while in the center  tables and benches are spaced. Not only is the Parco Romano Biodistretto home to the open air farmers market, but it also hosts street food and agri-chef vendors for lunch on the weekends, among other initiatives on other days:  Foresta Sonora, a live music concert series held in the summer,  Magnificent the Camp, an outdoor training camp, and creative workshops for children, to name a few.  As if it the market wasn’t cool enough, there is even a Fustock craft beer truck, making it the outdoor spot to catch up with friends for a farm to table lunch, drink or social outing after your pick up your  grocery supplies. 


Depending on the season and my obligatory loop at the market,  I vary what I buy and from whom. However, I tend to always pick up my favorites, some of which  cannot be found elsewhere:



The friabile from Ivan il Re dei Pane.  A cross between crunchy pizza and a cracker,  the family favorite is integrale (whole wheat), but  I also pick up the plain and olive versions too. 

Mozzarella from Fattoria Colle San Nicola; cheesemonger Antonio produces award winning fiori di latte and is a jolly man to talk to.


When in season:

Misto verde da campo (mixed field greens). I often pick this up from the market, as it cannot be found in the supermarkets.  I love the mix of colors and textures of the various greens, and their  bitter, fresh taste. I mix it fresh with lettuce in a salad or cook it down like other leafy greens.

Spinach.  Fresh, loose spinach from a market beats any bagged spinach from a supermarket. It’s sweet, fresh taste is best when cooked the same day as purchased, which is shortly after it is picked and when the flavor is at its peak. 

Wild Asparagus.  This thinner green needs to be  hunted and it packs a much stronger flavor than the regular variety.



Located in Piazzale dei Daini, 1, Ariccia, Parco Romano Biodistretto  has a large parking lot for easy parking. Open Wednesdays, Saturday and Sunday mornings.  Wednesdays the market is slightly reduced.

If you are in other Castelli towns,  Mercati Contadini di Roma e dei Castelli Romani  has various markets  for you to shop locally.  Check out the days and times here and support  local farmers:

Share this page