A Thousand Days in Venice
Book Review - Page 3
from page 2
The Rialto Markets
"I'd always found time to stroll the markets at the Rialto
during past visits to Venice, thinking it charming if not quite as splendid as
other of Italy's mercati. Now, though, it is my own, and I want to know
it as an intimate. The first thing to discover is how to enter the marketplace
from the backstreets rather than from the bridge and its avenue of silver and
jewelry shops, kiosks hung with cheap masks and cheaper T-shirts and wagons that
lure tourists with waxed apples and Chilean strawberries and cracked coconuts
bathing in plastic fountains. It is further down the row that wagonsful of
fruits and vegetables announce the market's genuine seductions. And hidden
behind these sits the handsome edifice of the sixteenth-century tribunal of
"...The shoppers are mostly women, housewives of all ages, all
physical proportions, and a rather universal voice pitched somewhere beyond a
scream. They propel carrelli, market carts, lined in large plastic bags,
and one is convinced, fast and well, to stay clear of them. There are clusters
of old men engaged in--among other things--the sober trade of arugula and
dandelion greens and other bouquets of wild grasses tied up with cotton string.
The farmers are sublime hucksters, rude, sweet, mocking.They are showmen
taunting in slippery dialect and theirs is a whole other language for me to
learn. 'Ciapa sti pomi, che xe cosà bei.'
What's he saying? He is offering me a slice of apple? 'Tasta, tasta bea mora;
i costa solo che do schei.' Taste, taste, pretty black-haired lady; they
cost so little."
Days in Venice
Copyright © 2002 by Marlena de Blasi
Cooking an American meal for Venetians
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