Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The ultimate Italian Experience is at the Market

If you love to travel, if you love to dive in to a culture,  and you love Italy there is no better place to get the real deal experience than the market.  They have everything you could ever want from chairs to tomatoes.    

The real experience is diving in even if you don't speak Italian.  Buy your lunch.  Grab a shirt.  Eat a white peach.  Smell why Italian food is so's because of the fresh daily market.

In Rome go to Campo dei Fiori.  In Florence go to Mercato Sant'Ambrogio (locals).  There is another one in Florence called Mercato San Lorenzo, but it's filled with tourists and worse prices.  That noted the San Lorenzo market has lots of leather vendors so you can barter one against the other to get a great jacket or belt.  Feel free to haggle.  Don't ever pay sticker for anything at the market.  

A word to the wise.  If you are at a market and want to buy some fruit or vegetables you will hear the vendor yell out "one euro" to get your attention.  If you see something you like or want don't point at it right away because they'll often say that what you picked isn't one Euro, but Euro 1,50 or 2,00.  So point at something you don't really want at first, then go for what you want.  

Be sure to visit the market with your camera ready.  Sample the goods before you buy.  And don't buy the first things you see.  Peruse the market, then buy.

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