The day dawned dark and dreary, as falling rain squashed hopes of a picnic, boat tour, or bike ride. Allora. Hungry and looking for some sustenance, we headed past lines of port-a-potties and pilgrims to the Circus Maximus farmer’s market on Via San Teodoro on the west end of the Circus Maximus in search of tomatoes and rughetta. We found so much more.
Usually the farmer’s market is filled with products from farms in the surrounding region of Lazio, but today, Sardegna had overtaken the outdoor area of the market! Stands filled with wheels of Pecorino, olive oil, and other Sardenian delicacies line the courtyard. A firepit blazed at the back. A vendor at Fattoria Cossu invited us to try a large slice of his soft pecorino and began what would become a beautiful friendship. Soon to follow was grilled pecorino melted onto sliced bread (what can only be called a Sardinian grilled cheese sandwich), bottomless plastic cups of red wine, roasted mailetto (piglet–40 days old, 7-8 kilos each), tomatoes flown in from Sardegna for the occasion, fried cheese discs topped with honey, and super-thin Sardinian crispy flatbread.
Our new friends also showed us how to dance, Sardinian-style, and taught us a game that involved shouting numbers and was vaguely reminiscent of that classic American game of imbibement, Fingers. Our Lord of the Flies fantasies fulfilled (I mean seriously, who didn’t finish Junior English wanting to dance half drunk around a roasted pig), we bid farewell, exchanged Facebook names, and finally picked up that produce we’d originally come for.
After finally extricating ourselves from our new friends, with promises to visit their agriturismo in Nuoro this summer, we fought through the Beatification crowds gathering for the kick-off prayer vigil at Circo, and made our way home with nothing but an afternoon of memories, photographs, and temporary tattoos.
While it is unlikely that Salvatore, Antonio, Francesco, Adriano, and the rest of the gang will be there in the future, we still highly recommend the market.
Where: Via San Teodoro 74 (just up from the Circus Maximus)
When: Saturdays and Sundays 9am-6pm
What: Produce, cheese, meat, wine, olive oil, etc – all from Lazio. They are also quite generous with samples.