The Sacile weekly market is one of the best things about life in Italy!
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One of my favorite things about living in Italy is the weekly market. Every Thursday morning, the historic center of our small town fills with local vendors selling their wares.
Most of them are local farmers. Of the roughly 100 booths that show up each week, at least half offer fruits and vegetables fresh from the ground. Over time people find their favorites and the farmers always recognize their usual customers!
The greatest part about the market is how seasonal everything is. Everything they offer was in the ground within the past week. It means that even the mildest of vegetables (looking at you, cucumber), is incredibly flavorful and delicious!
Italians do the majority of their produce shopping at the market. Many think the veggies at traditional grocery stores and way worse quality. They’re not wrong, and I’ve slowly learned to plan my meal plans and grocery shopping around the weekly market!
Many of these booths do this daily. The Sacile weekly market is Thursday, but Aviano is Tuesday, Pordenone is Wednesday and Saturday, and Porcia is Friday. Rather than sell their produce to a store, this is how they distribute.
A quick note: these photos have been taken over the past year, both before and after the Covid lockdown.
The market is so much more than just fruits and vegetables! Given our proximity to the ocean, it shouldn’t surprise that we have at least 4 big fish and seafood vendors. The pricing seems similar to the local pescateria, fishmonger, but it’s really nice to have everything all in one place when you’re shopping for dinner!
Another favorite are the cheese booths. These offer more cheeses than I’ve ever seen in one place! Plus a selection of salami and specialty products to make your charcuterie board mind-blowingly good.
There’s also a booth for bread and another with fresh pasta. Some get pretty niche, like olives and nuts or honey. There’s a local goat farm in Aviano that comes occasionally with some of the best goat cheese I’ve ever tasted!
There are two trucks of hot food: rotisserie chickens cooking behind the owners as they serve a hot bar of lunch options. But it’s not like a traditional American food truck: this food is intended to take home to eat. Italians don’t do eating on the move: food is intended to be savored, not merely consumed.
Unlike many US farmer’s markets, at least a third of the booths aren’t food-related. Many sell clothes. At least two just sell socks. You can pick up random kitchen supplies, leather purses, or a new bath mat. One booth sells and sharpens knives. It’s surprising but also kind of fun to see that this is genuinely how many Italians shop.
Like any town event, it’s a place to see and be seen. There’s no “running to Target to get a few things” – Italians are dressed well (not fancy, but no gym clothes) and here to socialize as well as shop. The piazza’s bars are packed that day with friends grabbing a caffe when they finish. I’ve rarely gone and not seen someone I know, and I’ve only been living here a year!
As an American, the market does beg the question of “if all these people are here to do their grocery shopping, when do they work?”
I have no idea. I ask myself this every week.
I will say that the average age in town is older. Many residents are retirees, and those of working age often commute to other cities like Pordenone and even Venice for jobs.
I love the weekly market! I plan my schedule around being home on Thursday mornings to go.