An Organic Experience
Grocery shopping in Rome is certainly not like attending your local neighborhood Costco in the U.S. There are some distinct differences. A supermercato means that the store carries food as well as dry goods. Alimentari is a store strictly for foods. There are many grocery stores in Trastevere and along Viale Di Trastevere so you will not have a problem finding a store. The hours are tricky sometimes; because our local Simply Market closes at 2 p.m. on Sunday, so make sure that you check out the hours of the closest stores so you do not make a wasted trip.
Typically, the design of the Alimentari is more like a market with fewer selections. The good news, shopping is quick and easy to navigate. For those who are health conscious, here is some more good news. Farmers in Italy do not use any pesticides so all the food is primarily organic. On another note, don’t be surprised to see eggs just sitting on the unrefrigerated shelf. Italians do not refrigerate their eggs because they are so fresh that they do not need refrigeration. Shoppers must get used to weighing their own fruits and vegetables and add their sticker price to their items.
As for the food cost in comparison to the U.S., I have noticed the prices in Trastevere are less expensive. Most of your meals in Italy consists of pasta, which is around $0.60. When shopping, there is a tendency for me to stock up however I must remember that I don’t have a car in Rome. Whatever I buy, I usually end up hand carrying home or take transportation. In the U.S., I was used to purchasing more and putting all my groceries in a big trunk to drive home. With this situation, you learn you cannot buy as much as you actually would back home. They also charge for each bag, so plan on taking your own reusable grocery bags. When shopping for groceries in Italy, keep in mind they do not use preservatives. Only buy the food you will consume immediately. Limit your items to what you need a few days at a time.
If you are from the States and you cannot find the American food that you crave such as peanut butter, they have specific stores that imports the favorite American eats. However, Nutella is the Italian version of peanut butter. Do not be afraid to pile Nutella on everything. It is a common practice in Italy, and half of the shelf space of an aisle consists of this delicious hazelnut. For Pringle lovers, they are a huge sensation and are stocked at most local stores.
Here is a list of the best grocery stores in Rome.