market catania

Life in Sicily: The Market

John P Brady - Swordfish

La Fiera di Catania and La Pescheria are the two main food markets in Catania. The former, which is located in Piazza Carlo Alberto, is the one stop solution to all your food, drink, clothes and even household needs.

It stocks fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, shoes, home ware, electrical items and clothes of all varieties. You could find speedos for the beach, scarves, perfume, bed clothes, locally produced wine, involtini (meat rolled with cheese on skewers), horse meat, a variety of shellfish, cleaning products, even second hand clothes and random material for dressmaking. You will definitely find big burly men who shout a lot, so if that is your thing you know where to go.

There is a market every morning (except Sunday) from 6 or 7am until 2pm and on Saturday until 7.30pm. The Saturday market is by far the largest of the week and stretches off down several other streets and becomes a complete maze of goods, people and chaos.

Some bizarre minded people try to travel through this chaos on scooters despite not being able to move more than an inch. Given the slightest opening, they recklessly accelerate into the crowds without a care.

Pesce - John P Brady

A good command of the Sicilian language will help you negotiate this fun fare although 80% can speak Italian with a heavy almost comprehensible Catanese accent. So if speaking Italian is at times an issue at the Fiera, lots of luck with English!

While normally sedate, Sicilians become maniacal at the market. Usually they will walk the streets of their city at the slowest possible pace that is still conducive to movement. On Saturday however some walk into you from behind and almost trample over you to move forward to do nothing in particular. I find it best to stay away from the market on Saturday unless you know exactly what you want and go directly to obtain it. It would be a joy to browse but the locals are gripped by panic and must create and generate chaos at all costs.

Safely at home with many kilos worth of fruit, veg, meat, fish and local wine, relaxation can be strived for and obtained in the freshness and quality of the products purchased.

An expert butcher – heart, liver and horse on sale



“Eccentric debauchery & social observations” 

John P Brady writes literary fiction, articles on social themes and sport. He ran a blog about life in Italy, where he lived for 6 years. His first book, a collection, entitled Back to the Gaff has been published by Roadside Fiction. It concerns the wild happenings in Dublin by night. 

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Back to the Gaff

Scandalous Narratives of Contemporary Ireland

Back to the Gaff is a collection by author John P Brady, which describes the excessive and outrageous nature of Irish night life.

Meet an array of eccentric individuals who populate the bars of Dublin, living lives of decadence and abandon. Their frolics inevitably lead to a trip ‘back to the gaff,’ which in Dublin-speak means gravitating towards someone’s place of residence where the depravity continues.


Ebook and Paperback available


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