Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mercato Cacine

Every Tuesday in a large park outside of the central part of the city, there is a market called Cacine Mercato. This market is visited by locals, and usually not tourists and has everything you can imagine.

Gloria and I went one Tuesday. She had been there before, but it was a new experience for me. We met in Piazza della Republica at 9:30 a.m. (I skipped school!). The walk took about 30 minutes and was along the Arno to the park.

We saw the site where they are building "Tram Via" a highly controversial project that will bring a tram from the outskirts of Florence into the city. (Think Disney world, and you have it). Easy to see why the controversy, and it was a mess on the construction site.

The people who set up in this market do a different market in a different city each day. Imagine setting up the stall, tearing it down at the end of the day and driving to another city to start all over again! The goods that they carry are of a wide variety like: shoes, cosmetics, jewelry, underwear, dresses, jeans, pants, bags, food items like dried fruits, olives, breads, meats, cheeses, fresh vegetables, and even some animals! It is easy to see why the locals shop here because the prices are low, and there is a lot to choose from.

Gloria and I spent several hours here and didn’t quiet make it to the end of the line. We walked back on the Oltrarno, and Gloria took me to a wonderful restaurant that she had frequented regularly and become friends with the owners who are brothers.

We had a wonderful lunch. I had gnocchi with pesto as a first course and she had lasagne. As a second course, we both had Taglieta di pollo which was a grilled chicken breast, sliced over ruccola and grated pecorino cheese on top. I guess you would call it a Caesar Salad in the states, but believe me, it beat any Caesar I have had there! We also shared a bottle of white wine. Gloria got to visit with the owners and introduced me to them also.

I was pleased to be able to make a few purchases at the market. I won’t go into details about what, but imagine losing 30 lbs in a city were everyone is the size of a doll. Clothing items are hard to come by in designer stores in my size! The market was a life saver!

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