Ballarò, the oldest market in Palermo

The city of Palermo is one of the liveliest in Sicily from the historical and cultural point of view. Among its various must-see attractions, the local markets present themselves as unique experiences to be fully experienced.

The city is home to several of them and every market in Palermo is a microcosm in itself with unique features, offers of products and atmospheres. Visiting the city’s markets means immersing yourself in the authentic atmosphere of the “keepers” of the gastronomic heritage of the territory and the traditions related to food, the heart of popular culture that has been handed down for generations.

They are not only places where you can find local products, but meeting places. Between one negotiation and the other, in fact, it is common to chat with sellers, share traditional recipes and receive advice on how to choose the best products. 

The Mercato Ballarò, a dive between present and past

Located in the historic center, Mercato Ballarò is one of the most famous of the city. This is what answers those who ask “what is the oldest market in Palermo”. In fact, this market has deep roots, even dating back to the Arab period, which make it a bridge between present and past. 

It is evocative since its name: for some it derives from the Arabic “Balhara” that could refer to the village near Monreale from which the goods arrived while some believe it could go back to “Ag-Vallaraja” that is the title of the rulers of the Indian region of Sind renowned for the spice trade.

With its lively atmosphere, the Palermo Ballarò Market has been the beating heart of the daily life of Palermo for centuries and continues to be a symbol of tradition and authenticity even today.

Its streets are animated by stalls with colorful tents that offer an incredible variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, pyramids of mature cheeses, freshly caught fish and much more.  

At sunset, the streets animated by the stalls of Mercato Ballarò offer street food and a lively and festive scene ready to welcome those looking for fun and good food.

Mercato del Capo, a journey through the flavors of Palermo

Ballarò is not the only famous market in Palermo that deserves to be visited when you arrive in the city. Through Porta Carini, you enter the Mercato del Capo, a market with its own personality and charm. 

Dating back to the Arab period, it has been the hub of the city’s commercial activity for a long time, with its stalls offering a wide range of local food and especially fish.

The Mercato del Capo also offers street food: here you can taste local delicacies such as panelle (pancakes of chickpeas), croquettes (potato croquettes) and arancine (stuffed rice balls).

The visit is rewarding not only for the culinary offerings, but also for the historical and artistic path that gives. The characteristic alleys lead from the Teatro Massimo to the Cathedral.

Foto : Unsplash

Vucciria Market, the alternative to experience Palermo at night

In addition to Ballarò and the Mercato del Capo, Palermo also boasts the famous Vucciria Market, a market that has seen the succession of generations of sellers and buyers.

The Vucciria Market, probably derived from the French “boucherie” which translates to “butcher shop”, had its humble beginnings as a simple outdoor butcher shop. Over time, however, it has enriched its offer, adding a variety of products including fruits, vegetables and fresh fish. “Vucciria” is part of the local dialect and literally translates into “confusion”, a label that perfectly fits the lively and chaotic atmosphere of the market.

To understand its impact, just think that the atmosphere and the variety of typical products of the Vucciria market has been fully captured by the painting by Renato Guttuso, reminiscent of the energy and frenzy.

Every evening, the market comes to life with street food stalls and music and lasts until late at night. It is an alternative to the Ballarò to live Palermo at night.

The other markets of Palermo

The Mercato Ballarò, the Mercato del Capo and the Mercato di Vucciria are three of the most important markets in Palermo, but not the only ones. The city’s identity and traditions can also be discovered by stopping by the city’s smaller markets.

Old village between food market and crafts

In the northern area of Palermo, from the Garibaldi Politeama Theatre and the port, stands the colorful district of Borgo Vecchio characterized by a rich market.  The roots of this district date back to the sixteenth century, when fishermen and sailors, attracted by the proximity of the port, found refuge there. 

Among the streets, the vitality of the food market blends with ancient artisan traditions, from woodworking to iron forging.

Today, Borgo Vecchio has become a melting pot of nightlife, with hundreds of people animating the streets until late at night. And so, in the awakening of the nights of Palermo, Borgo Vecchio is transformed and its sellers remain open until late, ready to welcome with their warmth and their goods.

The antiques of the Flea Market

It is different from all the other markets in Palermo and is focused on antiques and modern art: the Flea Market is a real treat to visit.

It is located between the squares Peranni and Papireto and welcomes with its stalls, fascinating with the possibility of finding unique and refined objects and creating an atmosphere of discovery and wonder.

The timeless charm of the Lattarini Market

In the Kalsa district, the Lattarini Market awakens with the ancient Arab traditions of “Suq el attarin”, the spice market, immersing the streets in a whirlwind of colors and scents. Among the alleys there are also laundry counters and embroidery yarns that tell a story of tradition and culture with their colors and their texture.

The weekend at Piazza Marina Market

The weekend market is held in the picturesque setting of Piazza Marina, one of the most iconic places in Palermo. 

Surrounded by the historic walls and surrounded by the beauty of the gardens of Villa Garibaldi, there is a lively outdoor bazaar, where every object is a piece of history: antique treasures, newspapers yellowed by time, dusty vinyls and much more. It is a real paradise for enthusiasts and collectors.

Copertina: Unsplash

Write a response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your custom text © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.