Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Food Markets in Italy

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
RomeCampo dei Fiori - Piazza Campa de' Fiori - morning fruit veg & flower markets
FlorenceSan 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)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I was recently in Istanbul for 2 weeks - my 2nd visit to this amazing city and what a pleasure!! The visual contrasts constantly surprise and delight me - women totally covered in Muslim dress next to Western women wearing a great deal less; the regular, call to prayer, over the public address system whilst tourists stroll the streets and the local people persistently try to entice you into their shops; the incredible 3500year old structures in the Hippodrome alongside a young Turkish boy driving a toy motorised car - it is constantly a visual feast that invigorates the senses and at the same time a wonderful lesson in acceptance and understanding.

When you visit, it is vital to enjoy the Turkish tradition of visiting a Hamam - better still, don't just stop at one visit go to many to compare the service, the architecture and wonderful peace and tranquility found inside the Hamam. The Hamam, a public bathhouse, is a tradition of social interaction that has endured for centuries. I know its considered a rather "touristy" example, but I visited Cerbemlitas Hamam several times and thoroughly enjoyed lying on the ancient marble, staring at the domed roof where the sun penetrated the star shaped "skylights". Built in 1584, it is fabulously calm oasis in the midst of the noise and frenetic pace of Sultanahmet - in fact as you lie on the cool marble slab it is hard to believe you are in the same city. This is definitely one practice I would love to be able to enjoy on a much more frequent basis! 
Photo from

The friendly people, the significant architectural sites, the ancient history and the modern design focus of this city are very real reasons to plan a visit.