Looking back on nine months of blogging from Italy, I realize I haven’t yet dedicated a post to one of my favorite Italian traditions: the market. In Italy, a market is essentially an outdoor shopping extravaganza. Lines of clothing, fruits, vegetables, kitchen utensils, shoes, thrift store-eligible paraphernalia, gourmet honeys, jams, and cheese all amongst other goodies. Rows upon rows of vendors with tabletops full of surprises. Every Friday, markets make their way to both Torre Pellice and Luserna town centers. Gathering an even larger assortment of goods is the market in downtown Pinerolo on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Adding together these three days and three locations, it’s easy to fulfill my marketing quota on a weekly basis. Now the question is… what makes these markets so special that I brave the masses in the weekly parade down tent-laden streets?
In my case, I think I love markets for the same reason I love TJMaxx or Marshalls. It’s the simple excitement of not knowing what kinds of treasures I will find. Or, if I’m looking for something in particular, it’s the adventure in trying to find it somewhere amongst the endless aisles of trinket-covered tables. Usually, my primary market-going intention is the fresh produce. Organic fruits and vegetables sold at an extraordinarily low price by friendly families of farmers who know your name. My secondary responsibility is a visit to the chicken man. The chicken man sells, well, chicken. Rotisserie chicken to be exact…roasted to perfection all out of his mobile rosticceria. He also makes ubelievably tasty French fries. Let’s just say that on any given Friday which is sandwiched conveniently between two game days, you know exactly what Kevin and I are having for lunch.
Besides the food, which I haven’t even begun to describe, it’s always enjoyable browsing the market for other treasures. Peculiar items that you never thought you needed, but realize after buying that you couldn’t live without. Take for example, my snap bracelets. Last Friday, a ray of sunshine poked through the cloudy sky and centered itself on a display of no fewer than five, 1990s-style snap bracelets with various expressions like “Hip Hop” and “Cool Cool Cool”. Talk about a blast from the past! And my discovery coincided perfectly with the Halloween weekend. In fact, a trip to Pinerolo’s market the next day resulted in the purchase of neon scrunchies and leggings which only added to the recreation of my 1990’s self.
Next week, without Halloween to prepare for, who knows what kind of goodies I will find at the market. And that’s just the fun of it. Apples, berries, tomatoes, chicken, lettuce, and maybe a little something extra that strikes my fancy as I saunter by. All while enjoying the great outdoors, and embracing the culture of Italy.
|A look at the crowds at Saturday's market in Pinerolo|
|Some fresh veggies|
|All for under 3 Euros!|
|The market in Luserna|
|Waiting in line for some cheese.|
|Dad and I last January visiting the Chicken Man|