Tuesday, April 30, 2013
During the period of Muslim and Norman rule, the market gardens of Palermo, Catania, and Messina abounded with the fruits and fish of the Mediterranean. They still do. The central market of Catania is located just beyond the Piazza Duomo at the southern end of Via Etnea – where the basalt elephant carrying an Egyptian obelisk on its back salutes the Baroque cathedral dedicated to Saint Agatha, the city’s patron saint. The fish market wraps around the outer gate of the city and is bordered by streets that are lined with open-air stalls of fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, and other earthly delights. The air is filled with the sing-song cries of the vendors hawking their produce and insulting their neighbors.
You will need to brush-up on your Sicilian if you hope to understand this opera. The colors and aromas require no translation, though. Strolling the market gardens of Sicily, you are vividly reminded why Sicily has been celebrated for its fertility since the days of the ancient Greeks.