Sicilian street markets: Capo, Vucciria and Ballarò
TeI have a certain obsession with visiting street markets. But I confess that I only do it when I travel. Perhaps because it is an efficient, fun and wonderful way to get to know the local culture better. In Italy, because of the favorable climate and soil, and because they have a very serious food culture, it is a perfect place to find the freshest and most tasty varieties of vegetables, fruit, delicacies, fish, spices and other food. Some of them can only be seen there, such as artichokes, so wonderful and typical Italian, found in abundance in the winter period. In Palermo there are three street markets very close to each other, each with its own peculiarities. On weekends, especially on Saturdays, there is a greater movement not only of bystanders and tourists, but also of vendors themselves with more stocked stalls. On the other hand, these markets can be visited on weekdays as well.
Is the largest and oldest of all, in the heart of the Albergheria district. It’s quite popular, and for a while now it has, what we can call “a bad reputation”, as it has become the territory of many immigrants and where the police have had more crimes and incidents to deal with. It is like an open-air market, not inside a building. I find it very interesting to visit, especially when visiting Palermo for the first time. The Ballarò shows a very faithful portrait of what the city is: noisy, chaotic, with a naked and raw beauty. I only recommend being careful with bags and belongings as markets are usually heaven for pickpockets.
It still remains the city's most important and real food market. It's a great treat for those who like this kind of tour. You can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fish and seafood. Nearby is one of the most spectacular Baroque churches called Chiesa dell'Immacolata Concezione. Well worth the visit.
Mess, confusion and shouting: these are the meanings of the word Vucciria, in the Palermitan dialect. As its name implies, this is kind of the way we feel when visiting it, day or night. It is not exactly a food market, as it basically consists of a street with a few vendors of fruit and vegetable, some fish, as well as a few bakeries and one or other restaurant open for lunch. In the evenings, however, something extraordinary happens and this place of commerce turns into a pub/party, with loud music and 25-year-olds dancing and drinking. It’s impossible not to stop and feel the energy of this dirty, ugly, decaying and strikingly unique street.