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  • Day56

    Fera o' Luna Mercato, Catania

    October 24, 2018 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    For our last full day in Catania we decided to visit the local market, Fera o’ Luni, which is the oldest outdoor market in the city, and has been held in Piazza Carlo Alberto since the 1830s. Originally held on the first day of the week, it is now open every morning from Monday to Friday and all-day Saturday. And this market is massive, it has long outgrown the Piazza and now covers the streets on either side. I was quite excited to see a local market, thinking it would be so very different to ours at home, but I was disappointed. Most of the stalls sell cheap items from China, t-shirts, gadgets, tacky toys, fake watches and with stall after stall after stall all selling the same stuff, it isn’t very interesting. Closer to the Piazza are the food, vegetable, fruit and cheese stalls and the flea market stalls with piles of clothes and boxes of shoes, tables weighed down with materials. It feels like a grubby version of our markets at home and really wasn’t worth the time or effort to walk through it. What did amaze me was the sheer size of the market and even with a bit of elevation, photographs do to show how expansive the sea of market umbrellas is.

    The good thing about visiting the market is it took us to another side of Catania, so once we made our way through the markets, we explored the streets on this side of town. As we walked up one of the main streets this morning, we noticed the road had been closed off and as we got to the corner we discovered why. Someone had strung a protest sign on the side of the building and there was obviously a threat of someone jumping or falling as below was the big blow-up cushion the fire-fighters put out to stop people from jumping or falling to their deaths. Of course we stopped with all the other rubberneckers to try and work out what was going on but as the situation seemed to be ongoing, we continued on to see what other sights Catania had to offer.

    Our walk today took us past the Roman Amphitheatre of Catania, built in the 2nd century AD and with only a small section of the structure now visible below ground level, it really wasn’t that impressive. Poor Catania, we have seen so many amazing historic sites so far on this trip that Catania has a lot to be compared to. If this was our first stop in Italy and not our last, we would have been more amazed and impressed.

    Next to the Amphitheatre is the Palazzo Tezzano, started in 1709 on land owned by the count and physician Nicholas Tezzano, it was later donated to the city of Catania and transformed into a hospital between 1720 and 1727. Today it houses financial institutions, shops and cafes.

    On the western side of the Amphitheatre is the Chiesa San Biagio, also known as the church of Sant’Agata alla Fornace. This church stands on the site where the furnace in which Sant’Agata suffered martyrdom was located. In fact, after being locked up in prison for not wanting to adjure her faith, she as first subjected to torture with fire and then her breasts were removed. They certainly were a barbaric people if you did not agree with their religion.
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