Saturday, May 14, 2011

Una memoria squisita…(a sweet memory)

I’ve been doing some Spring cleaning and while re-organizing a closet I came across this large carry-all bag. It was from the San Lorenzo street market in Florence, Italy and it brings back the memory of a very special day.

I remember it so clearly. I was spending a month in Italy with my good friend Douglas and we’d decided to take a break from each other and to go our own way for the day. I decided to wander the streets and I soon found myself at the famous San Lorenzo street market.

This is a seemingly endless conglomeration of souvenir carts and stalls, most of them under colorful tents, with sellers hawking their wares. They literally bombard the buyer and I was not in the mood for this so when I saw a group of shoppers enter
a large building I decided to follow them.

With surprise and delight I realized that I had found my way to the famous indoor Mercato Centrale food market. It is, basically, a huge, two floor, open expanse, with hundreds of individual stands displaying fresh foods as works of art.

The main floor is devoted to meat, cheeses and dry goods but it was the upstairs that took my breath away. This area consists solely of fresh fruits and vegetables…a cornucopia of colors, shapes and sizes for the shoppers consideration.

It was a delight to watch the local women bargain for their daily groceries. The good natured bantering was carried on with lots of laughter and many hand gestures and they included me in on the fun.

I’ve never before or since had such a delightful time in a market and I remember coming away from the market not only with a bog of dried apricots … (the most delicious ones I’ve ever eaten) but with a whole new outlook on grocery shopping.


Blogger kenju said...

We saw that same street market, but we didn't find our way into the building - and I am very sorry for that!! I remember sitting on a ledge on the side of the building to the left in your photo, and watching the people and a huge bulldog walk by. It was a good place to people-watch!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Sometimes it's good to just wander around without a tight schedule.

4:33 AM  
Anonymous said...

What a wonderful treat. Thanks for sharing the sweet memory of your visit to the market with me. Dianne

9:50 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

That's the kind of market I would enjoy, Ginnie, and not the ones we are forced to use here out of necessity.

5:26 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Oh I love dried and fresh apricots! What a fantastic market Ginnie. I have often times wished we had fresh markets here where I live.
There were many when I lived in Chicago and I miss them. It's been so long since I've been there, I don't even know if they still exist. Either way I'm sure they were nothing like that market you visited in Italy!
Love Di ♥

4:57 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

We have open air markets here but not the same as Italy. Sounds wonderful.

5:39 AM  
Blogger ellen said...

I would love to shop there. Oh, my goodness what beauty and bounty.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Big John said...

That's my kind of place Ginnie.

8:00 AM  

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