Trevi market is the smallest corner market in Rome. Formally there should still be four or five stalls, but practically there is only one managed by Mr. Amato and his family, with the help of the worker Martina.
A walk through the stalls
“Everything started as my son was working for the owner of this stall, so when he retired we took over the license and now it’s a family business. In addition to the stall, we have a refrigerated warehouse, so we serve the restaurants in the neighborhood with our ape-car, while our main customers at the stall are families buying clean vegetables: artichokes, chicory, broccoli. We could not survive just with the tourists who buy an apple” tells us Amato, while he keeps on cleaning puntarelle (a variant of chicory, very typical in Rome).
Once upon a time it was not like that. Trevi market was the favorite market of President Pertini, who used to live at Piazza Trevi during his 7 years mandate, instead of at the presidential house in Quirinale. “In the Sixties there used to be approximately fifty stalls along the wall behind Quirinale, mainly farmers – tells us Amato – but also butchers and fishmongers. Today we are the only ones remaining. I’m 73 years old, but I still like coming every day to help my children and spend time cleaning puntarelle. Sometimes some tourist, especially foreigners, stops to look at me working, they remain astonished in front of this little steel machine, it’s a craft made machine… sometimes someone ends up buying it!”. As we say good bye to Mr. Amato we ask him the secret for cleaning perfectly puntarelle. Check out the video in the gallery section.
“I went to Trevi’s market, the one with only one stall, once long long time ago. We passed by with Mummy, Daddy and a friend of ours as we were heading to that fountain where everyone throws a coin and wishes to come back to Rome. But that day we were kind of in a hurry, so even Mummy, who is really obsessed with markets, couldn’t stop. But she went back one day, when I was in school. She told me about this man who spends all day cleaning puntarelle and showed me the pictures of his little machine, it was all very interesting but I will never ever eat puntarelle, even if they were the only food on the table. I guess Mr. Amato suspected that I wouldn’t eat his puntarelle (with garlic, anchovies... but not even alone!) so he gave Mummy a banana, just for me!”.