Before I moved to Naples, the women who had lived here in the past kept telling me about the wonderful markets. "Oh, I miss the markets." "You're going to love the markets." "The markets are the place to buy anything you want, especially Italian shoes." This last one really caught my attention. Despite the fact that I essentially wear two pair of shoes only, black loafers for winter and flip-flops for summer, I adore shoes. Heels especially - very practical for walking on cobblestones, especially for someone who trips when wearing flip-flops. Thankfully, we go to church, so I have an outlet for my fancy shoes. I probably get holy points deducted for that - possibly it counts as pride. I'll have a moral crisis over the issue at another time, though. Today, we're talking markets.
Naples has many markets spread around the city. We even have one right here in our neck of the woods on Saturdays, although I've yet to drive over to it. Some markets operate every Monday-Saturday, some are just one day of the week, some are just a monthly market (can-not-wait to go to the Naples Antique Market one of these months). Markets are typically outdooors, with vendors set up under large tents. Some are produce/food only; some are a mix of everything - food, clothes, shoes, housewares. They are not like a market with handicrafts or artisan products. That's a completely different entity. Way back when, a friend invited me to join her group of girlfriends for the Monterusciello market and coffee after at a fancy pants coffee/pastry joint. We had a good time, but as for the market, I just didn't find a whole lot. The clothes and shoes seemed cheap. And maybe it was the fact of being in a group of six that made me more hesitant to take my time looking. Maybe it was that I was still overwhelmed by just living in this country, and I was still operating in a bit of a daze. But since that time, I'd yet to visit any other markets. In the past couple of weeks, I have determined to make a change in my weekly routine - read, get out of the house!
A new friend and I were going out to lunch, and we decided to go to the Fuorigrotta Market first. We both thought we'd cruise through the market, probably not buy anything, just get a feel for what a market is like. Wrong for both of us. We found beautiful shoes, vintage tablecloths, adorable bathing suit cover-ups, gorgeous beads (for jewelry making), and even a little bit of produce for each of us. Despite the fact that we are under a weather advisory for extreme heat and the temperature reached well into the 90s, we soldiered on for over two hours, exclaiming over every booth and having the most fun with the shoes. After the heat had beaten us, and we'd explored every booth, we headed back to the port town of Pozzuoli for lunch. Finding a wonderful, "climatized" restaurant, we finished our market day with a delicious bowl of penne arrabiata, delighting in our good deals and the opportunities we have here, from big travels to such fabled places as the Amalfi Coast and Tuscany to smaller events, like a Market Day.