Italians love shopping, and even though the internet and all varieties of social media are now an integral part of Italian daily life, nothing can be better than walking around busy streets al centro for a true appreciation of the current and forthcoming trends in fashion, decor and style in general.
American-style shopping malls are common (fig. 1), particularly in larger cities, and I recently visited Aura, a very grand, elegant and simply spectacular mall near the Vatican in Rome, where Romans of all ages mingled happily around.
What about the old-fashioned bancarelle, selling all kinds of new and vintage merchandise (fig. 2)? Bancarelle traditionally filled the local mercatino with special deals (fig. 3) and enticing offerte.
On my last trip to Italy, I rediscovered these ubiquitous bancarelle, once the exclusive domain of well-versed Italian vendors (fig. 4) who crossed their territory with smartly organized vans which would quickly become a busy mini-store (fig. 5) for the day.
This trip I observed a great variety of languages being spoken around these markets, a clear reflection of the social and economic changes occurring in Italy today.
The somewhat different atmosphere made me think about all the prior mercatini visits throughout the years, each with such enjoyable and fun imagery. I remember the stand selling old, wooden shoe and boot trees (fig. 6), the doll merchant (fig. 7), and the espresso makers (fig. 8) with their display for the traditionalist coffee drinker.
Of course, food vendors are frequent and ever appealing as lunch time nears (figs. 9-12), while the balloon man (fig. 13) is trying to get the children's attention. Buon divertimento!
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