I am back in Italy for work and as always, it is wonderful to be here. One of the first things we always do, no matter which Italian city we arrive in, is to take an early morning walk to the local food markets. A fix of local produce always satisfies - the gorgeous looking fruit that is every bit as tasty as it appears, the fabulous array of cheese, in particular Buffalo Mozzarella which is undoubtedly my favourite, and the wonderful prosciutto and meats - all these things are definitely on my shopping list. Food markets in any city are some of the best places to wander, not just to see the produce but to also engage in the local life, as unlike the major monuments, churches and museums, markets always have more locals than tourists.
And as a Designer, I do love this amazing attention to detail in regards to presentation! How beautiful do these food products look! I mean it is only lentils/dried beans/paprika etc but they look like something an artist would paint masterpieces with. Presenting spices with artfully cut pyramid shapes, or figs with beautiful leaves to separate them so that each individual one is special - it makes food an art form and eating an event. I think this is so integral to the Italian way of life and I feel goes a long way to negating the whole concept of fast food, over eating and long term cold storage of produce.
Some of the Food Markets to visit in major Italian cities are
Rome: Campo dei Fiori - Piazza Campa de' Fiori - morning fruit veg & flower markets
Florence: San Lorenzo Market - Piazza S. Lorenzo to Via dell'Ariento, around Basillica San Lorenzo, & Sant' Ambrogio Piazza Ghiberti and Piazza Sant'Ambrogio, the market is both indoor and outdoor - smaller than San Lorenzo but probably more local customers
Venice: Rialto Food Markets amazing Fish Fruit and Meat (previously mentioned on this blog)