Every week we go to the Saturday market to buy groceries (see below for the footnote!). It’s not that we can’t get fresh groceries from the fruttovendoli (small grocery shops selling fruit and vegetables), it’s just that we really enjoy the experience of going to the market. The market takes place on Via Giotto and is about a mile long, with bancarellas (booths) on both sides of the street. It’s always packed with people, who come not only to shop but also for the inherently social aspect. Only about 10% of the market is food related. The rest is devoted primarily to clothing, shoes and household items, all of it sold at very cheap prices. There’s also a separate section with potted plants and fresh flowers.
By now, we’ve established a rapport with the merchants we return to each week. We always go to the same stand to buy a roasted chicken and sausages for Henry, and fresh mozzarella for Gabriella (this is the stand at which Henry is featured in the video above). We presume the vendors are a family and the mother always smiles warmly when she serves us. We get our bread from another vendor where huge loaves are cut into smaller pieces and sold by weight, and hunks of cheese from another. Gabriella strolls longingly among the vendors selling plants.
The men at the stand where we buy our vegetables are not necessarily welcoming, but they seem to recognize us and one of the guys actually smiled the last time! On a recent visit they tossed a couple of clementines in our bag. Whether this was an offering or an advertisement we’re not sure, but they were delicious and now we buy about a dozen every week!
The Saturday ritual of going to the market is one of the things we look forward to every week, and it provides a glorious opportunity to be part of the life of the community.
Footnote: Except the past two Saturdays. Perhaps for the first time ever, the market was cancelled because of snow and ice on the streets and temperatures relentlessly below freezing. We shot the video before the snow and cold arrived.
|Even the pigeons had cold feet!|