My mom Jan turned 70 last month and to celebrate this milestone, we traveled to a place that she had never been and always wanted to visit – Sicily!
Our first stop was Palermo, a city that I have been obsessed with since my first visit 7 years ago. It was during that trip that my husband Massimo and I discovered our mutual fascination with Sicilian marionettes. We now collect them with abandon and picked up two more on this trip!
In the taxi on our way to the Capella Palatina, we happened to pass by the Mercato delle Pulci (flea market) of Palermo. We decided to return the very next morning.
The market is a collection of metal shacks that seem to have been built with whatever building materials were available, probably after World War II. The shops are on either side of a very busy street so you need to pay attention to the traffic while shopping! Some of the stalls even have trees growing through them!
The market offers a little bit of everything – tacky trinkets to antique ceramic tiles to fine period furniture. We could have stayed there all day!
The personalities of the dealers also run the gamut from cold to pushy to incredibly kind and professional. One of the dealers, a bright and passionate young man who is a third generation antique dealer, even helped Massimo pack up our purchases, take the boxes to the post office, and then drove him back to our hotel. That is the kind of hospitality that you so rarely find anywhere, but I have found so often in Sicily and southern Italy.
Here are some of the beautiful items that we picked up in Sicily. Click on the photos to see the full product descriptions.