Exploring the side streets and food markets in Italy is one way to get a feel for Italian daily life. And where better to start than the Vucciria market in Palermo where alongside displays of fresh seasonal fish, meat, fruit and vegetables there is the banter of the vendors who breathe life into this historic setting.
Vucciria in Sicilian means a bustle, racket, or chaos, and today the vucciria of shouting voices is certainly one of the elements that characterize this market! This pandemonium (of the good kind!) is an entertaining backdrop to a stage of culinary delights, such as freshly caught and prepared octopus served by a father and son team in the middle of the main piazza. As they dish out plates of succulent octopus, their voices can often be overheard recounting stories of the market which was principally fish focused in the past earning the Palermitano saying e balati ra Vucciria ‘un s’asciucanu mai (the ground/pavement at the Vucciria never dries).
What better way to start your adventure in Palermo than with
polpo bollito con limone? (Boiled octopus with lemon)
Contributed by Gina Tringali, who works for the Rome office of
Context Travel and is currently obtaining a Masters in the History and Culture of Food and Wine at the Universitá degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata”.