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books-on-italy

Cuisine of Sicily

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Enrico Massetti

The Vucciria Market, in the heart of Palermo's historic old city, opens early. By 4 a.m., anglers are hauling in the day's catch; by 5 a.m., vendors are setting out crates of fruit and vegetables; and by 6 a.m., the place is bustling with shoppers. It's a tradition that's gone on, the same way, for the last 700 years.

Every day but Sunday, the Vucciria fills with fishers, shopkeepers, and merchants who have come to peddle their goods. And it's quite a selection: pasta, grains, sacks of beans, bags of dried herbs, shoes, socks, cigarette lighters shaped like handguns, grappa, wine, CDs, paintings and paperweights of the Madonna, salted capers (a local specialty), zucchini the size of a child's leg, crates of artichokes still attached to their long stalks, tomatoes (large, small, sun-dried, packed in oil, in a can, on the vine) and practically anything else you can think of.