At 6 a.m. on Wednesday morning the town of Cagli, Italy, is still shaking
off the darkness. By 7 the town is bustling with the arrival of the many
street vendors who make up the traveling market.
hour later the streets are full of Cagli residents looking for a good
deal. One can be found on every corner, as the market stretches its arms
to enfold the town in its embrace. You can find everything from socks
to kitchenware, eggplants to cheese wheels. Walking through the clothing
section, you may not see the brands Italy is famous for, but you do see
row upon row of pants, shirts, sunglasses, bracelets and even more if
you venture to the far corners.
Gramaccioni has worked at the market for 30 years. Her stand is filled
with clothing. She has a face wizened by time and hard work. She works
early in the morning until noon, only to go home and fulfill all of the
duties required of a traditional Italian housewife.
When asked where she
finds the time to sleep she replied, “I’m like a robot,”
although one wouldn’t know it to look at her. She does project a
sort of tired enthusiasm for her work, the kind that comes only with years
you continue to walk through the streets, your eyes and nose get used
to the constant assault of colors and scents. The stands begin to seem
a bit monotonous, but one man who has decided to break from the mold is
Claudio Mariani. He sells socks and underwear in upturned umbrellas.
don’t want to be so boring,” said Mariani. “I want to
he is. His stand is a delightfully humorous, a borderline outrageous breath
of fresh air.
flirts with a Cagliese shop owner saying, “I’m a lover!”
and remaining imperturbable as she rebuffs his phony advance. Compared
to the staid and purely functional displays next to his, Mariani’s
umbrellas seem a whimsical wonderland of pure shopping pleasure.
market is not all fun and games. Things are serious when it comes to the
price. “You give up the famous name for a better price,” said
Mimmi Bartoli, a Cagliese shopper, “In a store I would have paid
100 euro for these pants; I paid 25 euro for them at the market,”
influx of items from China has lowered the cost of almost everything in
the market. It has also brought greater variety.
the time the clock in the piazza strikes noon, everyone from the shoe
vendors to the fried fish sellers have begun to pack their wares away.
For some this is a more intense process than for others.
The convoy drives
away in a cloud of dust. It leaves the town of Cagli a little more awake
than before and with many closets bursting from the day’s great
Web Design by Claire Davis
Photos by Ian Roeber
Video by Anne Wessell