Today we went to the mercato for the first time. Every Wednesday, the outdoor market sets up in a huge field downtown. There are vendors of every sort, from meat and fish, to fruit and vegetables, to clothes, linens, housewares, pots and pans etc. You name it, you can generally find it at the mercato.
Every vendor has his assigned place so it is easy to find your favorites from week to week. They set out awnings to help provide some shade on these hot summer days. Then, as you stroll by, if you slow down or show any interest in their merchandise, they are ready to jump on you!
I have not generally enjoyed the mercato experience. We would always go at peak times, when it would be miserably crowded and hot. Then I would get discombobulated at the crowds, not know where I was going and would just end up frustrated and tired, having accomplished nothing. I would usually be following my late sister-in-law, who was an inveterate shopper, and I could never keep up with her.
Today's experience was much more pleasant. We arrived at about 11:00, as the crowds were thinning down and the vendors eager to pack up and move on. We found a parking spot right across from the entrance to the mercato, which was good, because we brought our 85 year old neighbor, Lello, along. We strolled amongst the bancarelle, bought some nice olives, went to the housewares vendor and picked up some little gadgets that would be useful, Mike got some sandals and Lello bought some fish and fruit. I saw several vendors with some clothes that I will look at next week; I need a couple of house dresses that are cooler than what I brought from the states. There is a uniform here that most women seem to wear. It is a kind of cotton, sleeveless dress, that may button down the front, usually in a black or dark print. It looks comfortable and easy-care for doing the housework and cooking. I may give in and pick one up, just to see how it works out. They were only 5 euros a piece, so it's worth a shot.
We'll be back to the mercato next Wednesday, checking out the merchandise and enjoying our outdoor shopping experience.