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A Bit More Catania

September 26, 2017

Mount Etna looms over Catania, a potential danger but also a blessing. It erupted as recently as 2015, producing a 3300 foot lava fountain and an ash plume nearly three times that height, then again in February of this year. Scary stuff.


But the exceptionally fertile volcanic soil yields a bounty of fruits and vegetables. With only a few hours left to explore Catania, I decided to take in the daily market behind the main piazza and the duomo. The maze was enormous, with glorious displays of the freshest fruits and vegetables, including giant purple cauliflower and dew-kissed eggplant, and mounds of perfect peaches, pears, plums, nectarines and apples, and large meaty olives.

Through a stone archway I heard the raucous pescaria, and I followed my nose to the biggest fish market I’ve ever seen: mountains of seafood fresh from Ionian and Mediterranean waters, glistening in the morning sun. Swordfish are abundant as well as countless other varieties unfamiliar to me, plus shrimp, clams, oysters, mussels and octopus. Unshaven fishermen sport long stained aprons and rubber boots, wield their long knives and shout their invitations to buy, yet there is a sensitive and artistic quality to the tempting arrangement of their offerings. There must be enough fish here to feed all of Catania!

I could wander here all day, but it’s off to Ortigia now, the most historic section of the city of Siracusa, where I’ll spend the next week or so.

One Comment
  1. I bet none of it was GMO.

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