To Market, to Market: Naples
17 January, 2018
The first place I visit in Naples is Mercato di Porta Nolana, a stone's throw from Piazza Garibaldi. I like soaking up the colours, flavours and noises of a city, so markets are usually my first port of call. I watch the locals go about their life, interested to see what they buy and talk about.
Porta Nolana is a pedestrian market overflowing with local produce, particularly seafood, which spans everything from mussels and clams to lobster, octopus, mantis shrimp and sea urchins. The vendors are incredibly friendly, which might have something to do with the fact that I'm a blonde foreigner who speaks Italian and wants to take their picture. I have numerous exchanges, get several invitations to dinner and pose for a couple of selfies with local fishermen.
My next stop is Mercato Pignasecca. On my way I meet Carmine, a Neapolitan whose family has owned a small fish shop in the city for over 50 years, which he now runs with his nephews. He claims to sell the freshest seafood in Naples and numerous customers who stop by during my visit agree. Carmine recommends Trattoria da Concetta for dinner, which was opened recently by another of his nephews. They specialise in seafood and, needless to say, Carmine's Pescheria Sasà is their supplier.
La Pignasecca has the atmosphere of a relaxed small town market. Nobody seems to be in a hurry; people take time to choose the best fruit and chat to stallholders. Some decide to take a break from their grocery shopping to enjoy fried sardines or crispy arancini washed down with a cold bottle of Peroni. The more adventurous plump for tripe seasoned with lemon and salt from Tripperia Fiorenzano. I wasn't brave enough to try it, but it's given me yet another reason to go back.