Mother for 5 years, journalist for 15, daughter and granddaughter of a farmers’ and greengrocers’ family for 40. To cut a long story short, four generations of greengrocery on the market stalls in the province of Cuneo: my great-great grandfather, great grandfather, grandfather and then my uncle, all farmers and greengrocers.
Since I was a child, I remember my uncle’s truck ready to go to the market stuffed full of cabbages, potatoes, oranges and cardoons in winter, peaches, tomatoes, courgettes in summer. And I remember my mother (greengrocer until choosing another path) taking me to the market and transforming into a different once there. She would switch from being quiet and shy into an out-going bargain hunter: evaluating products, asking for prices, negotiating and obtaining discounts… all in Piemontese dialect. I have visited many markets: the one in Saluzzo, where until a few years ago my uncle had a stall, and the Modelo in Salvador de Bahia, I have been at the Boqueria in Barcelona and at the covered market in Copenhagen. I have wandered around the African markets (fish arranged in basins, veg in baskets) and the stalls of the farmers’ markets in New York. Then I came back home.
In Rome there are dozens of markets. From the most famous one, Porta Portese (mentioned in movies and songs), to a number of smaller borough markets. You will find some here. Seen through the eyes of a journalist (a sort of ‘review’), a market lover and later, of a mother, or even those of her daughter. I have tried to describe through the eyes of a little girl. That’s how Alice’s wonderland started, as the market is the right place to find white rabbits, magic potions and all you need for a great ‘mad’ tea. For those of you coming to Rome for the first time or for those who just want to see it from a new point of view, I thought I would suggest some points of interest at walking distance from each market. You will find them in Just around the corner.
(what about me… the – unofficial – translator :) Decent English speaker, I am happy to be part of this project and I will try to catch all language ‘nuances’ to make your reading enjoyable. Please forgive me for any mistakes.)