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Porta Portese Market

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The magic market

Translated by Helen Hardy — 2 years ago

Original text by Raquel Alba

Why have I chosen this title for this post? Why's this market so magical? I'll tell you why. This place is similar to the Madrid fleamarket, a place where you can find absolutely everything - whatever you're looking for, it'll be here somewhere. It's the biggest market there is, and if full of all kinds of items, all kinds of sellers, all kinds of buyers and, most importantly, all kinds of bargains! If you're a good haggler, if you've got a lot of patience or if you just know how to search well (or all three of these things), you'll be able to find some unimaginable bargains.

The market is huge, jam-packed with people of all nationalities, since though it's a popular market with Italians, there are also lots of tourists there. Stalls cover either side of the street from the market's start to its end, being at least two kilometres long. The stalls which don't fit onto this main street are set up in the parallel one, an extended branch of the original market. There are so many stalls that I reckon you could just rock up there and set up a stall without anyone noticing. I might do that and try to sell the things I've bought during my Erasmus exchange in Rome but am never going to be able to fit in my suitcase to take back to Spain... who knows! :P

The magic market

I could write you a list of everything you can find at this market, but I'd never finish it. I was looking for Christmas presents for my whole family (which is a seriously tough job, since my family members range from 2 to 89 years old, women, men, grandparents, in-laws, grandchildren, cousins, siblings, partners, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles... and I found something perfect for all of them), and on top of that I also got some things for my new room in Rome and for Erasmus nights out.

A typical stall at this markets is one with books or CDs, or with both. They're mostly second-hand books in Italian (though you do find some in other languages, even some in Spanish). There are recipe books, dictionaries, novels, children's books, travel books, poetry and other curiosities, and they sell for 1 to 3 euros each. There are people I know who come here, buy a book they fancy reading and then take it back to the market and re-sell it at the same stall for less money than they bought it for. In this way, they create their own cultural library in their head, leaving their bookshelves empty and full of dust, but their pockets full!

The magic market

Another one of the typical stalls at this market are the second-hand clothes stalls (though there are also new clothes) which sell items for one to ten euros. These stalls are the best ones to visit early on in the day, since their best items sell out quickly, though you also need time and patience to find something you like and which is worth spending a few euros on. I found two jerseys for one euro each. I wear one of them all the time, but the other one is a typical example of something you buy because you're amazed at what a bargain it is (it only cost one euro! ) and never actually use because it gets lost in the depths of your wardrobe and you forget all about it.

The magic market

Another stall I bought something from was a cologne stall (all cheap versions, of course). If you've been thinking of buying a designer cologne you really like but haven't done so yet because it's so expensive, go to this stall and ask if they have this brand. The seller will give you the cheap version and you can try it out. Normally, the knock-off versions are really good. Some of them you really can't tell the difference with. Of course, there are some which aren't that good, but it's all a case of trying them out and hoping to get lucky. I bought Nina Ricci cologne for four euros.

Other typical stalls are ones selling bags, scarfs and shoes, underwear (they sell socks, bras and pants for one euro), electric goods and mobile phone and tablet cases. There are also antique stalls, cooking utensils and general homeware, costume jewelry, and stalls with many other funky things, from the ever popular selfie sticks to Tibetan bowls made out of seven different kinds of metal.

The magic market

The magic market

The magic market

The magic market

This market is an outdoor one and is on every Sunday from around 8am to 2pm. It's got to be said that it's a market best for early birds: the early you get there, the better bargains and better purchases you'll find. During the morning, people come and snap up the best offers, so if you turn up later one, perhaps you won't find that cool retro bike that your early bird friend bought, or that designer sweater that your early bird flatmate paid almost nothing for.

So, there you have it, lazybones: pull off your bed covers, get in the shower this hungover Sunday after having been out the night before to make yourself feel fresher, and head out to the Porta Portese market smiling from ear to ear thinking of the huge bargains waiting for you, and shout to the whole world: I wanna find a bargain, too!

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