Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Open-Air Market in Milan

Scrolling in the local markets has always been our favorite thing to do whilst travelling to a foreign country. You can't find a better spot to feel the pulse and dynamics of the town then taking a look at where locals shop for food and other daily necessities, plus I am always curious of what kind of food they buy and eat.

Friday morning happened to be the market day for one of the street markets in Milan and it wasn't far away from where we stayed, so we decided to wake up early and took a walk over there. Porta Romana district (which meant "Roman Gate") in the southern part of Milan wasn't exactly a sightseeing hotspot for tourists, with only a 17th century city gate still remaining as something worth looking at, but every Friday mornings this part of town was full of actions, as streets were turned into an open-air market, with stalls setting up selling all kinds of daily goods, from fresh fruits and vegetables to cheese and cured meat, from clothes to flowers to seafood and everything in between, filled with locals shopping for their weekly supplies.

Most cities and towns in Italy have open-air markets open regularly at a certain time of the week. When you plan your itinerary, it's always best to check out when the market days are for the towns you are visiting - some of them opens once a week and some even more often - for example, Porta Palazzo in Turin, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, opens every day except Sunday. Some bigger cities such as Milan might have multiple markets in different areas opening at different times selling different goods, so it's worth doing some research so you wouldn't miss out. Also do bear in mind their opening time - most of them only opens in the morning and by early afternoon, they were all packed up and left without a trace.

Don't think you are obliged to buy anything in order to have fun in the market - obviously if you are traveling and staying in a hotel you can't possibly buy vegetables, fish and stuff to cook with. But fruits can be for immediate consumption or made good snacks on the road, and for items like spices, cheese and cured meat, you can easily pack them and made good "souvenir" to share with friends and family back home. And for us, we were just as happy looking at all the beautiful fruits and vegetables nicely arranged and put on sale in rows and rows of stalls. (we did pick up some vegetables at the end) 

Oh, more on the market we went in Milan. If you go by public transport, you can get off at Porta Romana metro station and follow the crowd once you get out. It's also easily accessible by tram or on foot (less than 30 minutes from Duomo) To be exact, the market is located on the streets of Via Crema and Via Piacenza. I think it opens from 7:30am to noon every Friday - but better double check before you go.


(This is the part of the Journey to Piedmont series, a writing project capturing our recent travel experiences to the region)

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