Monte San Savino Market in March
It occurred to me that I had not written about markets in a while. In Italy, most towns of any size have a weekly market. In Monte San Savino the market is on Wednesday morning. Probably starts between 8 and 9 and starts packing up around noon. By 1:00 the only sign left of a market are the empty parking spaces, by 2:00 those have been swept and cars are filling them up again. It is one of the activities that runs efficiently and like clock work every week. Never heard of a strike by the market vendors.
These markets are not just for local farmers. In fact the fruits and veg that are sold are not necessarily local. The purpose of these markets was a way to bring merchandise to folks BEFORE cars became available to the masses. Now most folks have a car or access to one so markets are a social event. But commerce still goes on and the market vendors must still sell enough since I am seeing the same vendors week after week for over 3 years now.
What’s at our market?
The most luscious fruits and veg that you can imagine.
There are 3 garden plant vendors but no one with cut flowers (the Camucia (near Cortona) market on Thursdays has 2 cut flower vendors), 3 or 4 shoe vendors, maybe 10 clothing vendors, 3 purse vendors, 1 with under garments (our neighbor Alessio’s parents-in-law) 3 with rugs, towels, household linens, 1 with hardware, 2 with fish, 2 with cheese and one with fabric. Ours is a small market, spread over 2 piazzas and several streets. If the weather is good, it is crowded. It is rare that I don’t see at least one person that I know. When Caffe Luna has tables outside even Ben likes to go to the market. We can easily spend 2 hours there…with Ben sitting, sipping coffee and me dashing around looking and chatting. We have met and made 2 sets of friends at the market. We like the market.
There is even a bus that runs from the towns in the valley to our market so that those who don’t have access to a car can get to the market. It is good to see a long time tradition still going on. So when you are visiting Italy, be sure to stop by a weekly market. We used to plan our trips to hit a big market in Ventimiglia on Fridays. But a small one like Monte’s can be just as fun. Many guide books and regional web sites list market days. Or the signs in the parking lot forbid parking on market days, telling you what day.