Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Flowers and other markets. Part 1 of today.

Almost exactly 2 years ago, I saw the most amazing thing in my life: the FloraHolland operation in Amsterdam that brings in, sells, and distributes flowers around the globe. Today, I saw the "next step" in that operation: the Mercato Del Fiori in Rome. Only open to the public on Tuesday mornings from 10 till 1:30 after the morning flower frenzy has decayed, you could still see the how those flowers arrive in Rome (or probably any other country) and get moved around.
Those yellow buckets 
Spray painted blue, I assume 
Not roses
How do I know these were from FloraHolland?
That's one tipoff 
Those labels are another
The flower market in Rome isn't nearly as big nor as busy as Amsterdam, and rather than little electric carts to move the flowers around, they use another type of cart.
Lower tech
We got there as soon as the public was allowed in, but after the market was mostly done. Accordingly, a mess remained. A quiet mess, but a mess all the same.
Leftover buckets 
Empty stalls
A leftover pile of something
We liked the place, and it smelled nice, but after 30 min of taking pictures (and being chased away from taking pictures), we thought we were done. Turns out there's a basement plant market, which would be called a "greenhouse" where I live. If it grows, you can buy it, ready to take home and plant it. Everything from herbs...
Basil. €1 for 5 plants
...to houseplants (or at least, houseplants where I live)...
Ficus. There were also forests of schefflera for sale 
Violets. Other things
...and outdoor plants.
More roses 
A lot of something
The plants in this market were dirt cheap. Like, as in, the basil, at €1/pot, I bought in my market last week for €2. Huge bougainvillaea for €10. And as a result, the downstairs was BUS-Y.
Peace and quiet 
The hoards pass
...and outside, people were stuffing plants in their (double parked) cars.
A trunkful
Just down the road from the flower market was a Testaccio-like market. In a new, modern building (Mercato Trionfale) that replaced the old outdoor piazza market (Mercato Andria Doria). Except...

Unlike Testaccio, which was sterile and uninteresting, this was (a) bigger, and (b) alive, with a capital A. Barely a tourist in sight, the place was a zoo of activity.
A typical corridor
We were there to do our weekly shopping shop for fruits and vegetables, not to take pictures, but couldn't resist a few.
Zucchini, with flowers 
One of the 8 meat departments 
Beans. Red and white. Really. Never seen anything like it. 
Big shrimp 
Some kind of snail 
Rabbit. Again, a possible solution for Canmore 
So all the way through the market, there's hams in vices. Ask, and they carve you bits. This lady was hand carving paper thin slices of proscuitto. Lots of them. Even, thin slices you could see through. It was a beautiful thing.
Brilliant knife work
We had a long debate when we got home as to why this market so like Testaccio, was so unlike Testaccio. We don't have an answer. But it was a great market. If you're in Rome, looking for real but indoor markets, try Mercato Trionfale. Word has it that unlike most markets, it's open 2 days a week in the afternoon (shudder. What is Rome coming to?). There's a lot more than fruits and vegetables, too.

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