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Collection of Portraits of Merchants and Their Goods in Palermo, Italy

merchant selling olives

The outdoor market scene of Palermo is always a big hit especially with tourists. Visit the many different Palermo markets that include the Vucciria, Ballaro, Borgo Vecchio and the Mercato di Capo. This over 2,700 year-old city is well preceded by its reputation as a gastronomic destination, famous for its eating pleasures and the four main markets.

merchant selling skewers

Mercato di Capo or “The Cape,” is one of the busier ones among the four. Its Arabic roots and Muslim history is quite evident, having made its indelible mark via the bazaars and produce stalls. A vigorous food and flea market place, the people here are talkative and boisterous, with the merchandise always fresh and inviting. The fish and seafood diversity will impress the food enthusiast, and the fruit and vegetable variety here are equally famous for their quality. Many local restaurants source their ingredients here.

merchant selling fruits

The Cape consists of an assortment of fresh goods and fish stalls that are very popular to the bustling visitors. A day at the markets is one of the best ways to connect with lifestyle ala Palermo. Manfredi Caracausi, a young Italian photographer recently shot a project that sought to tell the story of Il Capo or The Cape. The 22 year-old lens man took portraits of the different merchants in their stalls along with the goods they were peddling. While these markets define Palermo, it is the merchants who populate these markets that give the place its soul. He aptly calls the series Merchants and Stories.

merchant selling vegetables

For Caracausi, he observes these people as if they were suspended in time, being there in Palermo ever since he can remember. What he is actually alluding to is the many generations of merchants that have been faithful to the trade and the city, passing on the business from father to son, in an unending tradition. It is these families who have been devoted to the city, that give Palermo its singular appeal. His photo series is his way of expressing the innate beauty of this Italian city, which is personified by its merchant residents.

merchant selling meat

The photo series Merchants and Stories and can be viewed in Caracausi’s website.

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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