Palermo’s 700 year-old Vucciria Market Withers

Could one of Palermo’s most beloved open-air markets becoming a thing of the past? Some locals are concerned that without the help of city funding, the once-bustling Vucciria market may not be around to see the next decade. Danielle Pargament of The New York Times describes her unforgettable experience: “As I stepped over the empty boxes and discarded fruit rinds, I recalled my day in the Vucciria — drinking homemade artichoke wine, listening to an eccentric old man play bongos at his restaurant, feeding a newborn lamb and watching traditions unfold as they’ve unfolded for centuries.”

While this sounds like an enchanting tourist destination, there may not be much time left to experience the same Vucciria that has remained practically unchanged for 700 years. “There’s new construction, new developments all around. The Vucciria won’t survive,” says Ignazio D’Alessandro, a 62-year-old Sicilian vender who has lived in the area since he was just 5 years old. “The crowds are leaving. The developers are moving in. I’ll have to close in the next two years.”

Although the thinning crowds have many vendors worried about the future of their businesses, Ms. Concetta of Shanghai Trattoria told the Pargament, “Places like this can never go away completely… You just watch — the Vucciria will outlive us all.” Let’s hope she’s right, otherwise now might be the perfect time to visit Palermo before summer crowds rush in. To read more about Palermo check out the article “Navigate Palermo Like A Native” in Dream of Italy’s Special Report: Sicily
–Laura Cimperman