Markets are an excellent way to understand the Italian lifestyle in Sicily where vendors sell their products and locals challenge their value. The interaction is played out beautifully between the seller and buyer. Over the centuries, the performance has been perfected. The only way to truly experience the authenticity is to take part in the act. Let’s bring you a little closer with these group of friends who test their negotiating skills at the market.
Monday is outdoor market day. We walked a few blocks along the sea until we saw the vendors selling their wares – an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables, household items, and clothing. We loaded up on fruits and veggies by the kilo (more than two pounds) – assorted olives, prunes, green beans, tomatoes, grapes, plums, pears, and a bunch of basil. We walked home with three shopping bags of goodies. Then we headed out again to explore the main commercial street near us. We bought bread for lunch, a couple of souvenirs, fresh persimmons, and a couple of items at the grocery store. People shop for small quantities of items daily and we’re getting into that routine. We had lunch in the apartment – great bread, Grana Padano cheese, smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomatoes, red onion, fennel, and fruit.
The next day, we headed along the coast for a few kilometers to the next coastal
town in the direction of Palermo. We walked through town and along the sea, where we saw another open market. Many of the vendors spoke broken English. It was a bit difficult to negotiate in English with our limited Italian. Regardless, we enjoyed the banter and so did our Sicilian vendors. Whether we made out with a good deal or not, the experience was something we will never forget. We also received some pointers from a woman, who happens to be from the Bronx, but married a Sicilian man, who has been living in the area for the last 20 years. We’ll have to try our new negotiating tools on the next market. We headed back to town for another late afternoon jaunt to the beach. When our first choice for dinner, a local pizza place that had been recommended, which turned out to be closed on Monday, we opted for a seafood restaurant next door – also good. We had mussels with thick spaghetti, couscous with a fish sauce, and perfectly grilled swordfish. Everything was fresh and tasty. The cuisine here is definitely based on fish and seafood and influenced by all the groups of people who invaded the island over the centuries. It’s as good or better than elsewhere in Italy.
While we tend to focus on food, we enjoy seeing the sights and learning as much as we can about history and culture. We feel comfortable and safe in Sicily. It’s another find!