mercato centrale internetMercato Centrale, 9″ x 12″, oil on panel

This is a painting sketch of the Mercato Centrale in Florence.  I set up my easel right in the middle of the market, and just did a quick paint sketch.  I would have also done a larger painting afterward, but we had to return home to New York a little earlier than we expected.

The Mercato Centrale, or Central Market, is basically a huge, wrought iron cathedral that the Florentines built to worship food.  It houses countless vegetable booths, kind of like farm stands, with produce from all over the Mediterranean and Northern Africa.  Then there is the meats section, with blood dripping from animals hanging on hooks, chicken carcasses, and so many trays of tripe that it looks like a coral reef.  Other sections include the fish market, the wine market, the cheese and marinated foods market.  There are too many choices.  When you buy food there, you have to act like you’ve done it a million times before, or else they will charge you triple.  Trust me, Margaret and I made the error of wandering around, giddy with delight, our eyes glazed over with oogling admiration- then we were raped by their prices.  So, no gazing at the cavernous cathedral of wrought iron and glass, no taking pictures- no having a camera for that matter, no smiling at the food vendors.  Act like a New Yorker in New York City, detached and disinterested.  Just ask for a half dozen blood oranges, some swiss chard, and be done with it, or else pay the price.


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