A sunny city
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The city’s local markets are timeless places. Vucciria market and Ballarò market are the most visited and crowded. They are located near Martorana Church and nearby the station. Here we find the colors and scents of Palermo and the whole of Sicily on the stalls. Borgo Vecchio market, near the port and open during the night, together with Del Capo market behind Teatro Massimo are likewise important. Local markets managed to preserve the culture fascination that, especially here, has left unmistakable signs. The following four places represent not to be missed points of interest for those who want to relive an ancient Palermo, never losing its charm.
Via Roma, la Cala, il Cassaro and Piazza San Domenico.
Vucciria market, located in Della Loggia district, is the most famous and popular local market. Vucciria has very ancient origins dating back to the 10th/11th century. It is a world apart, characterized by a mixture of colors, flavors, scents and ancient voices. This place offers everything, but especially foodstuffs. The name seems to derive from a misspelling of the word “Boucherie”, which in French refers to the meat market. Around the fifteenth century this place assumed the denomination of “Bocceria della Foglia”, a clear reference to the type of trade that took place there. Especially fruits and vegetables were sold. The current name was used in the eighteenth century. In 1783 the Marquis and Viceroy Domenico Caracciolo, who was a diplomat and politician of the Kingdom of Naples, decided to organize it. In fact he erected a series of arcades, now missing, and created a square-shaped lodge with a beautiful marble fountain. It is an amazing experience to go into the alleys of this market, to look for the “genius loci”, to experience the call of the sellers and the talkee-talkee, to pretend to negotiate. Vucciria represents a last dive in the past. It is a world that after years of existence is slowly disappearing.
The food market is probably the oldest in the city. It takes place in Albergheria district, more precisely in Ballarò square. This place is very lively, colorful and characteristic as well as Vucciria. The name seems to be traced back from “Balhara”, an ancient village located near Monreale, from which the first Arab merchants came to town. This is the most probable thesis even if the origins of the name are not certain. Other sources claim that the name derives from “Vallaraya”, Indian king of the Deccan region, from where several spices came. This place is renowned for the selling of the first fruits coming from the countryside of Palermo. Hundreds of people go there every day. The main feature of the market are the so-called “abbanniate” that are noisy recalls from sellers who try to attract passers-by attention using their local language.
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