The real throbbing life in Palermo can be discovered in the heart of the markets “del Capo” or “Ballarò”. Losing yourself in curvy and narrow streets, where the work tables and the rhythmic sellers “banniate” are clumped, you can feel the sensation to go deep into a world filled with fascination and folklore.
The ice, that keeps the fish fresh, melts and makes “le balate che non s’asciucano mai” (the streets that never dry off) slippery; these gutters, the messy fruits rind thrown away by people on the streets and the crowded habitual customers oblige the wayfarer to walk carefully and slowly, but it could not be otherwise: how cannot you stare enraptured in front of the triumph of senses given from the sight of the exposed goods? Vegetables show all the rainbow shades, indicating their ripening level; the blue-silver leap of fishes combines with the perfume of basil and fresh mint, with the strong-smelling spices, with the sticky fried “panelle” or bread “ca meusa”, with the fragrance of just taken out of the oven bread and biscuits. How cannot you wonder whether there is a secret correspondence between the sparkling products of the market and the polychrome marble that covers the walls of the Baroque Churches peeking out behind the stands.
You can breathe a popular air, the dimension of the Arabic suq evokes the origins of the city, but its actual history as well. While “il Capo” is almost exclusively attended by genuine people, “Ballarò” is open to the African community and offers the spectator a multiethnic aspect, in which the bright colours of the food stands perfectly matches with the flashy fantasies of the traditional clothes of the new neighborhood inhabitants.
Let you inebriate from the labyrinth of senses and discover the history of Palermo starting from the gastronomical tradition.