Marvellous markets and delightful delicatessens
Although you’ll need to go to Rome to find designer shops, the village has plenty of stores for essentials, plus a newish, improved pharmacy at the start of the Via Provinciale and on the same road there’s a post office that has been known to run out of stamps.
The closest little supermarket for Casa Capena guests is Central Market, on Via IV Novembre.
Capena’s newest supermarket is the Conad ‘Margherita’ on Via Morlupo, next to Le Delizie di Tiziana (see the Eating out page). It stocks a wonderful range of foodstuffs, and the fresh bread, cheeses and cooked meats at the delicatessen counter are a joy to behold – and even more of a joy to consume.
An open-air market is held every Saturday. It’s still a real meeting point for the locals and sells a good array of fruit and vegetables, some very locally grown. Bargains are often available as the smaller stall-holders need to offload all their stock, particularly if they are selling very perishable fruit such as peaches. The market also has a stall selling olives, pulses, grains etc. that you can use as a basis for your own delicious home-cooked Italian soups and starters. Another stall sells cheeses, cold meats and the classic Roman porchetta — spiced suckling pig typically eaten cold in a bread roll. There are also several clothing, handbag and shoe stalls plus stalls selling household goods and linens. There are likely to be fewer stalls in August when many stall-holders are on holiday. A much larger market is held in nearby Fiano Romano on Wednesdays.
In Piazza del Popolo there’s a recently instituted weekly flea market called Portobellorocca (after London’s famous antiques and bric-à-brac market on Portobello Road). Organised by Rosina Wachtmeister’s industrious daughter Gabila, it’s held most Sundays from 9 am to 1 pm. Anyone is free to offer up to three items, including crafts and second-hand books, clothes, etc.
A shopping tale, by Hugh, a Casa Capena guest:
“In the butchers at Capena this morning and it was crowded. The woman before us in the queue wanted some Parma ham but didn’t want any cut from the ham already in the clamp at is was near the end. So the butcher got another ham down from a hook in the ceiling but before taking the old one out started cutting slices from it and handing it round all of the customers. Very tasty. Then when he started cutting the new ham the same woman said she didn’t want any of the first batch as there was too much fat on it. We didn’t mind so we got it. I have to say it’s the tastiest parma ham I’ve ever had. We had it for lunch in sandwiches made from fresh bread with tomatoes we’d just bought from the Saturday market in the square. Wonderful. Going to the butcher here is a social occasion.”
Shops slightly further afield
There are two shopping malls (both containing large supermarkets) within ten minutes’ drive of Capena: Arca and Centro Feronia.
Drive down the Via Provinciale out of Capena to the T-junction with the Via Tiberina (“il bivio”). Turn right and look out for the blue entrance to L’Arca on your left after about 200 metres.
Turn left at the bivio and drive back toward the motorway for about two kilometres. Centro Commerciale Feronia is more or less on the motorway exit and contains a ten-screen cinema as well as shops.
The locations of the two malls are shown in purple type on the Access Map on the Maps page.