Shopping for Olio Nuovo in Rome

I have missed this stretch of the Tiber.

Ponte sublicoThis is where I notice the seasons change in Rome.

On this same walk, I wistfully watched for the first green leaves in spring, and where I now crunch through autumn.

autumn in romeMy favorite thing about fall in Rome is clementines and olio nuovo.

So in addition to a picturesque canopy of leaves, this walk takes me towards the market and into town.

tiber leaves

For the past few weeks, I have been harassing the vendors.

When is the new olive oil coming? Do you have olio nuovo?

Next week.  Soon.

And I would stroll back home, oil-less.

Rome in fall

I love to wax poetic about olio nuovo. I look forward to the press every year.

But this year I am anxious.  It has been a bad year for olives in Italy.  Poor weather and pests have destroyed much of the crop.

I wanted to be first in line to get whatever small amount of oil that I could find this year.  At the mercato di campagna amica at Circo Massimo, I beelined for my favorite producer.

A handwritten sign announced the new oil.

I dipped some bread into the liquid gold and… winced.

The harvest was not only down in terms of quantity- but also quality.  The bitterness was overwhelming.

I slunk away and sampled all the oil at the market, settling on a liter from Monte Maria (9 euro).

liter of olive oilToday, I walked down to the Testaccio Sunday farmers market to see if there was any more to be had.

I snapped up another liter (12 euro) from Impero.

olive oil testaccio

So if you are looking to buy olio nuovo this year, you are not completely out of luck.

Head to the markets with a bit of patience, as you may have to order ahead due to the low stock.  If there’s nothing left, ask if they can reserve a few liters and bring them to you the following week.

Don’t give up, and always check that they are offering oil that has been ‘produced and bottled’ by the same entity.  If you want to be extra sure you have the good stuff, look for the production date.


It’s a bit of extra work this year, but well worth the effort.





5 thoughts on “Shopping for Olio Nuovo in Rome

  1. Gillian says:

    Such a sad sad year for olive oil producers and lovers. Even the icky grocery store olive oil section shelves are looking thin.

    I bought some Impero oil a few weeks ago too and have managed to convince a farm in Tuscany to part with a few liters.

    We will all have to embrace the thrill of the hunt! You are so right that it is worth the effort.

  2. Gunnar says:

    My dream is visiting Roma in the springtime. I can see from your photos that the city is beautiful also in the autnum. I don´t know much about olive oil although we often use it when prepaireing food even if we mostly use butter.

    • Natalie says:

      Hi Gunnar! Spring is also a fantastic time to come. There is rarely a bad time. Sometimes August is too hot and a bit crowded. I love autumn in Rome, but also spring, and sometimes even the winter light…

  3. Lucia says:

    Rome is eternal . Beautiful at anytime of year . Never changed since I was a little girl . It’s my true love ?

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