The markets in Palermo are the busiest trade parts of the capital of Sicily. The markets are more alike the fairs in Morocco and Algeria than the markets of Italy. The markets of Palermo can be considered the Arabian part of the city with its straight narrow rows of stalls, loud sellers and great variety of colours and smell. They are the liveliest part of the Arabian history there, which has been kept in Palermo for 1000 years since the end of the Saracen power. There are two main markets in the capital: La Vucciria and Mercato di Capo.
La Vucciria means “voices” in the Sicilian language. When the Sicilians compare the noisiest places they compare them with the noise and the voices in La Vucciria. The voices belong to the Sicilian peasants and fishermen, who sell fish, fruit, vegetables and spices there. The food is the freshest there. The market is open every day from morning till late in the evening, but on Sundays it is closed at 14p.m. But the best time to visit the market is 9.00a.m., when the sellers put their best goods on the counters for the wholesale buyers from restaurants and cafes of Palermo. The market is situated in some narrow streets near Piazzo San Domenico.
Mercato di Capo is the second large market in Palermo. There is a great variety of delicatessen there, loud voices of sellers, crowds of people going hither and thither. Mercato di Capo is situated in some peculiar ancient streets of Palermo: Via Volturno, Via Beati Paoli and Via Porta Carini. The latter is famous for its ancient gates which were a part of fortifications having surrounded the town. The market is divided into two parts. In one part you can buy clothes and accessories, in the other foodstuffs are sold. The clothes are not of high quality in Mercato di Capo, that is why it is better to buy only foodstuffs there.
Mercato di Capo and La Vucciria are famous not only for fresh vegetables and fruit but also for dainty dishes. You could have breakfast there if you wished going along the rows and tasting different delicacies. Among the traditional dishes of La Vucciria and Mercato di Capo you could see purpu (boiled octopus), pahelle (pan-cakes made of peas), fresh artichokes and fruits marinated in wine.