Gino’s Italian Escape – Sicily Street Markets


Gino bids a fond farewell to Sardinia as he travels to Sicily. Sicily is Italy’s largest island, rich in culture and history, and is a foodie’s paradise.

Surprisingly, this will be Gino’s first visit to the island and with Sicily’s delicious regional cuisine; he’s in for a treat.

Starting his journey in Palermo, the island’s capital city, Gino will learn all about Sicily’s famed street food found in many of the island’s markets. The markets are a huge part of Italian culture and the lives of the locals, as well as being loved by visitors to the island. Sicily’s long and vibrant history has influenced the food that is found on menus across the island today and many of these specialities can be found at these markets, too.

An array of fresh produce at an Italian Market

Street markets are a feast for all the senses as the atmosphere is buzzing with sellers peddling their wares, customers looking for the best produce and delicious dishes being cooked on the spot. We have taken this opportunity to share the top food markets not to be missed.

Ballaro Market

Ballaro Market is one of the oldest, biggest and most popular markets in Palermo. The market is situated close to the Martorana Church and Quattro Canti and is open from around 9am to 2pm, Monday to Saturday.

If you only get to visit one market while in Palermo, then Ballaro is the one. It epitomises Sicilian culture with great food and friendly locals to boot. Locals will buy their dried goods and seasonal fruits here, and for visitors it’s a great place to pick up discount and vintage clothing.

Street Market in Italy

La Vucciria Market

Although Palermo is the biggest and most popular, La Vucciria Market is the most famous. Vicciria is a bustling market, staying true to its name, which means loud noises. Don’t be put off though – we think the hustle and bustle is what makes it so great. It is open on Friday and Saturday evenings.  Selling everything from fresh seafood to herbs, ensure you visit La Vuccciria as early as possible to get the best produce.

II Capo Market

Another important market in Palermo is II Capo market, which is a labyrinth full of tasty delights. Located behind the Teatro Massimo, the market sells a wide range of meat, fish and vegetables. Out of the three markets, II Capo is less touristy and loved by locals. Let your nose guide you around!

Spice stall at an Italian Market

Palermo, the focus of this week’s episode, is located in the north of Sicily and is a cosmopolitan city that boasts stunning architecture, lovely sandy beaches and unique attractions, such as the catacombs and the city’s grand theatre.

After trying Sicily’s foodie delights, Gino washes them down with the famed wine of the region, Marsala. Marsala is a sweet, almondy wine that is brought out over dessert or as an aperitif. It is often compared to port. In true Gino style, he visits a local vineyard and rustles up a delicious chicken dish with a rich Marsala sauce.

Gino’s Italian Escape airs tonight at 8pm on ITV. Be sure to visit Ciao Citalia next Friday as Gino discovers more of Sicily and our experts share their recommendations and top tips.

Photo credit: SNappa2006 via Flickr, Alessandro Bonvini via Flickr, ro431977 via Flickr