I love a good market. This is not the same thing as saying that I love grocery shopping, because I generally don’t, particularly when it involves a rainy morning and an armload of too-heavy, clunky, very-nearly-waterlogged bags that I have to carry back to the apartment while juggling an umbrella. But markets in general are something I’ve always found fascinating and invigorating, particularly when I’m travelling and am free to browse my way through the stalls and buy frivolous things like slim wedges of strange cheeses and little jars of exotic jams without actually having to think about what to buy for dinner.
And so I seek out markets whenever I find myself in a new place, and then I visit them with the kind of intensity and studied concentration that I rarely – if ever – dedicate to any other kind of attraction. In the average museum or gallery, my usual expression is one of mild, obligated interest constantly on the verge of melting into total boredom. In the average market, I’m the perfect picture of rapt attention, camera constantly at the ready. I find markets inspiring.
Out of all the markets I’ve seen so far, the daily market in Ortigia stands out as one of my favourites. It’s fairly small, just a single street with one end pointed towards the sea and the other butting up against the ruins of an ancient temple, but it compensates by being wonderfully boisterous (although not quite to the degree of Naples, which takes market chaos to a whole new level) and incredibly colourful. I could tell you more about the market, about the giant baskets of deep red sun-dried tomatoes and the heat pushing its way through the striped umbrellas or about the sounds of swordfish fillets being smacked down on metal counters and vendors shouting in Sicilian, but instead I’m going to leave you with these photos from August, which I hope capture just a fraction of the riot of colours that make up the market and the contrasting calm of the nearby streets.