il mercato – the market
An italian market is a stimulation of all of the senses
The respect for mother earth’s gifts are carefully and artistically put on display from voluptuous pyramids of gleaming violet eggplants, the taste of the sun still lingering on vine-ripened tomatoes, the tender fuzz on blushing peaches, the aroma of bouquets of freshly-picked basil. An encyclopedia of varieties is offered by merchants loudly singing out their wares: Assaggia! Assaggia!! (Taste it!) Circulating waiters from nearby caffe’ deliver expresso cups and wine glasses and take orders for the next round.
Rain or Shine, steaming or freezing, the market prevails.
While urban dwellers can choose from one or more daily markets, small towns will set aside one morning per week for the travelling vendors to set up stands in the ‘piazza’ in the center of town, with a broad offering from suckling pigs to women’s coorsetry.
Any questions about what to make for dinner, how to cook it, or the quantity necessary? The seller will be more than happy to offer an opinion, as will the nudging crowd handing over bags of produce to be weighed and always ready to talk about the next meal.
In some regional markets you will experience the true ‘farmer’s market’ where a local will bring to market only those one or two things which have ripened or have been ready to unearth that week. This is the real authentic experience of home grown produce.
A must for anybody visiting Rome is the the market at Campo de Fiori in the center of the city. The aromas, the vivid colours, the sounds and the theatre of market life in a unique setting are a sight to be hold.