Grocery shopping in Rome, Italy at the covered Testaccio market means taking home a little piece of the Eternal City every time.
And there are two very important figures in the Rome Testaccio market: the Sicilian tomato guy–who before selling you a vine-ripened heirloom or an ox heart will ask you exactly what recipe you’ll be needing it for before approving your choice–and Marcello Mastroianni’s cousin.
The latter, Alvaro is his name, wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning and unloads crates of freshly caught fish from the docks in the Fiumicino harbor. Then he stocks up his van and drives to his colorful stall in the Roman foodie heaven mercato, where along with his treasures of the sea, he sells wonderful cinema stories of his handsome cousin, Marcello, to his aficionado customers.
There’s a photo of young Alvaro and Marcello, hanging above the huge swordfish heads and ice-packed crates of sardines and writhing octopi. The two cousins in the photo are laughing in the sun, clutched in a beautiful embrace.
Alvaro’s stall is open year round, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
“And Sunday?” I ask.
“That’s when I go to the movies!”