living in italy: a market morning

I haven’t been to the market in three years. Not the cute, daily markets that happen in a few piazzas, but the big, noisy, in-your-face Saturday market on the outskirts of town. I chalk up the absence to a panic attack I had there back in my anxiety days. But it was so sunny, and we were up early and the bikes had air in the tires. So there was no excuse. We were going to the market.
We coasted past the throngs of cars lining up to park near the market entrance and the hordes of moms and strollers and old ladies with their carts on wheels for easy produce purchasing. 
“Alright, here we go,” our glances almost seemed to say to each other as we locked up our bikes on a fence. Manu’s smile lit up immediately when he saw my eyes open wide at the first food stalls. 
The noises at the market are distinct: the fruit vendors, mostly men, shout their prices at the passersby, imploring them to buy “15 artichokes, one euro!” or “one kilo of broccoli rabe, 50 cents!” or just simply, “50 cents!” over and over again in the hopes that the curious Nonnas will approach and fill their rolling carts.
[rolling cart, twelve o' clock!]
I walked along, silently, taking it all in, millions of photographs happening in my mind but no courage to take them. Those fruit vendors are intimidating! Manu urged me, “Just take some pictures, I bet you anything they’ll love it.” 
I stepped in front of a stall, where a waterfall of green poured off the vendor’s table. I shot. He turned immediately and said, “What about a picture of me, miss? I’m just as beautiful as the berries!” Guffawing, his friend next to him said something about being as ugly as a cauliflower. Manu was right, as usual.
At the next stall, the sun was shining on a cart of apples, and permeating their sweetness in the air. “Let’s buy some!” I said to Manu. We got close, and picked two almost-red beauties. The young fruit vendor saw us searching for change in our backpacks and said, “Just take them, my treat.” We insisted on paying and he said, “Get outta here!” (I love it.) We washed our free apples underneath the public fountain (thank you Roman aqueducts) and sunk our teeth into the crisp skin, juice spraying our cheeks and running down our chins. “This is the best apple I’ve ever eaten.” 
“You said that about the kiwi you had yesterday!” Manu added.
”Oh yeah,” I said. “Mm, that was a good kiwi,” and I closed my eyes for a second to remember it. 
“You’re like Homer.” laughed Manu in English. God, he knows me so well. 
I think this is going to become a weekly thing. 

16 comments:

  1. Awww, this is one of my favorite posts :) Such a fun idea for a Saturday and so sweet that the man gave you apples on the house!

    xxx
    Jenna

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  2. Aww, your trip to the market sounds so lovely. And I love your shout-out to the rolling carts. Ladies love them here in Austria too!

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  3. Such a lovely post! It reminded me of the market I visit each Summer in Spain. Only no one offers me free apples and there's usually an incident with one of those luggage style shopping carts & my toes. Clearly, I've been visiting the wrong country :)
    xM

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  4. I love markets!!!!!!!
    cute blog!!
    xoxo

    http://cappucinofrio.blogspot.com.es/

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  5. These are such lovely pictures :) I love going to the market :D

    Nikki – inspire nordic

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  6. what a gorgeous post!!! i love big food markets but they can be intimidating, we used to go the huge barcelona market and it is crazy!
    in dramatic fashion

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  7. I love going to the farmer's market. Which the one here looked like yours!

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  8. Awesome! Yesterday I posted a movie featuring the French market I go to every week. Aren't fresh markets just the best?! Great ingredients, unique environment...we are lucky ladies ;) Your prices sound out of this world though!

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  9. Can I please, please just move to Italy? Your posts make me want to go abroad so badly, instead of just being in New Orleans all of the time! I have to go find a farmers market like this somewhere in the city!

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  10. Wow - what an amazing life. I love it.

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  11. you are so lucky to be living in italy- i went and visited last summer and it was absolutely flawless.

    http://xoxo-carolinalove.blogspot.com

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  12. This looks like such an adventure! You and all your amazing, crazy stories of life in Italy!

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  13. oh how delightful......i love going to the markets, and even better on bikes, thanks for sharing very very cool lisa!!

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  14. Girl--please....this sounds awesome. :)

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  15. Even though the markets here are year round, I don't tend to go when it's cold, it just doesn't seem as fun and I shop at the supermarkets instead, but now that spring is here (sorta) I'm anxious to spend mornings at my local market again. One of the best parts about life in Europe, isn't it? :)

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thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, i love reading them so much!

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