The Market of San Benedetto – the famous name comes from the neighborhood where it is located, in via Coccu Ortu, in the east of the center of Cagliari.
Established in 1957 the lively and very popular destination for the people of Cagliari and tourists who visit to stock up on fresh products and locally produced food and wine.
The choice of scented products, beautiful colours, exposed and handled with care by the sellers at their pitches, most of which are managed by familes, generation after generation, many from Cagliari.
Over 8,000 square meters of what they say is the Municipal Market Hall – Europe’s largest, on two levels in a cheerful ‘hustle bustle’ environment, are the different departments of fruit and vegetables, meat and sausages, ready for local specialties, bread, cheeses, pastries upstairs, while the ground floor holds a magnificent fish market welcoming us with the best small-scale fish from the Gulf of Cagliari, the finest fresh fish, shellfish and seafood.
The biggest of fish lovers will be happy to find razor clams, raw sea urchins, all fresh and ready to taste on the spot. Other seafood on offer: mussels from Arbatax to Orziadas (sea anemones), oysters of San Teodoro, mullet bottarga (the best are from Cabras, close to Oristano) in all shapes, the tarantello and tuna buzzonaglia, packaged and ready to be stuffed into the suitcase.
Those who prefer meat, cured meats and cheeses will be spoiled for choice among the many goodies, campidanesi veal, prosciutto and homemade lard Seulo, bacon myrtle, sausage with wild fennel, the fantastic pecorino or casizolu Montiferru (cow’s milk cheese made of spun paste) in addition to Fiore Sardo sheep and Biancospino goat.
Among the many local pastries and ancient traditional treats to definitely try are the aranzada nugoresa, sweet nuorese of orange zest, honey and crunchy toasted almonds; sebadas, delicacies made from fresh cheese slightly tart in taste topped with honey; the tiricchie or tiliccas, traditional pastry dessert of northern Sardinia almonds (Gallura and Logudoro) prepared to celebrate Easter. Or the culurgioni, a typical specialty of the Ogliastra area, made of fresh pasta stuffed with pecorino durum wheat or potatoes and mint. Without forgetting the spawning, and the goods baked Carasau bread or “music paper” and less subtle pistoccu, the traditional bread of the most ancient Sardinian shepherds, or finally the civraxiu, homemade bread baked in wood-fired ovens.
According to the most ancient tradition of the food markets, including the Civic Market St. Benedetto you can eat well, with freshly prepared food at reasonable prices, such as the magnificent fish fry freshly prepared by two young people of Cagliari or sushi and sashimi of Japanese chef, both on the first floor.
To get to the market you can walk from the old town or take the local bus lines CTM:
The San Benedetto Market is open Monday to Saturday from 7am until 2pm, and is served by a large parking lot for a fee.
The best time to visit is early in the morning; on Tuesdays and Fridays you will find the best selection of fish at prices slightly dearer, while those with a budget should go on Saturday close to closing to grab a bargain.