There are so many markets everywhere! I took all of these pictures in one of the larger chains, Meta, but there is also an InCo-op right by Gabriella's house, and several other chain stores abound in the city center (although they're significantly smaller and more expensive than the Co-op by my house).
I hate to hear people complain about not being able to find food here. Sorry, rant time: there are markets everywhere. Italians have fully embraced American-style supermarkets, but you can also find bakeries, butcher's shops, and greengrocers on nearly every street. So stop complaining. You can eat Chik-Fil-A when you get back to America (although I wouldn't be surprised if one popped up in Santa Maria Novella in the next couple of months; there are already four McDonald's in the Centro alone).
There is very little frozen food in Italian supermarkets; above is the whole section.
However, I've noticed that in many restaurants, frozen food abounds but is always marked on the menu. I don't know whether it's required by law, or merely provided as courtesy by the restaurant, but I certainly appreciate it.
That said, all of my romantic notions of Italy’s “all-fresh, all local” food are just that: romantic notions. Our eggs come from Veneto, up north; orange juice and tomatoes are imported from Sicily or Africa; my cereal is made in Milan; and breakfast biscuits are manufactured (note: not “baked”) in Catania.
Still, it all tastes pretty fresh. And the bread—all Tuscan, all the time.
Below are my favorite cheeses, Bel Paese and Mio, that seem not to need refrigeration. I hope someday soon I will get used to seeing eggs and milk on top of the fridge, and batteries in the fridge door. For now, it still brings out a little of my super-hygienic American upbringing--and seriously, I am not that hygienic by normal standards. I mean, not to be gross or anything, but I'm not exactly anal about putting the cheese back into the fridge, you know?
Guessing by her face, I'm not the only one a little bit grossed out by the enormous processed-foods section. It seriously takes up half of every grocery store.