Mercato di Catania

This is a 14″ x 20″ watercolor painting – $400.00

One of the most wonderful places in the world is the open air market. The one I painted today is in the Sicilian city of Catania next to their famous pescheria (fish market). Farmers bring their fresh vegetables, butchers bring their freshly cured meats, cheeses can be found, as well as fruits, nuts, all sorts of spices and preserves. Every mercato (the Italian word for market) that I have been to has had its own unique personality. In fact, every day, every mercato is different.
Italy, just like the USA, has plenty of supermarkets with rows upon rows of food in them. However, every day, Italians like to go to their mercato to buy dinner. In Rome, we followed my cousin to a little mercato. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough of a vocabulary to get all our questions answered about all the things I saw, but we still had a blast. During my next visit, I was in Cefalu, and discovered that at noon every day, the mercato closed only to open again the next morning. All of those little booths, all of those vegetables, meats, and other wares were cleaned up, packed up and disappeared. You’d never know they had been there except for a few wet spots where tubs of ice water had been spilled.
In Catania, where I stayed at the home of my cousin Antonietta and her children, I learned Mercato was part of the routine. Every day after breakfast, everything was cleaned up and we went to the mercato a few blocks from their home. We bought bread, fruit, whatever we needed for the day. Next day, same story. As we walked down the street, other shoppers would greet us, their bags already full.
One of the best recent changes to Seattle, which is my current abode, has been the opening of many farmer’s markets all over the city. the most famous here is Pike Place market, but as the days lengthen and spring comes, you don’t have to go downtown to find farmer’s markets, they are everywhere. How about you? Do you like to shop at a farmer’s market?

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6 responses to “Mercato di Catania”

  1. Love hearing about Italy and their way of life. They’ve got it right.
    I live in Vermont and there are Farmers Markets that resemble the lifestyle you speak of, (but colder). Some are open daily (indoors in the winter) and some are weekly/seasonal. And some of the best farmers are fellow artists. Go figure. Don’t know where they fit that time in. Check out one artist that’s in the local Guild with me:
    She is a great farmer too. (I have no vested interest in her other than I love the cheese and her farm art.)
    Being able to paint from life experience is the best of all. You are so lucky and it shows in your work. Nice to have a memory bank to ‘draw’ on…good going.

  2. I love to shop at open farmer’s markets. I wish they would be open all year long. The Northeast is just too frigid.
    You have captured the “mercato” well. You’re a great artist.

  3. This is a wonderful painting! So is your description of the Mercato. I can practically put myself there and feel the warm sunshine on me as I stroll through and listen to the shoppers and sellers greeting one another…: )

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