Every Wednesday there is a large open air market which is absolutely one of my favourite places to be.
Do not miss it if you are in Tuscany!
The Siena market is held near the Fortezza Medicea parking area, beginning early in the morning.
I have seen the market times noted as being open from 7:30 am to 1:00 pm to 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, so my advise, just show up between 8-9:00 am!
I like to go early in the morning (8:30) and spend a few hours just meandering through the crowd of locals. You will see an immediate swell in numbers as the tour buses arrive and drop off their passengers. Frankly, the people watching is as much fun as seeing what is being sold.
Many Italians have limited space for food due to the size of kitchens in their historic appartamento’s (apartments). Therefore they shop more frequently through the week for produce, always keeping fresh food on their plates. How wonderful to take the time to shop, think about what you are eating and being in the moment enough to do it. As my Italian insegnante (teacher) said to me, “One should always surround themselves with beauty and this includes your food.”
There is a steady buzz of Italian as people walk arm in arm, stop and greet friends and go back and forth with sellers over their wares. The market is alive!
You rub elbows (literally) with the Sienese as they go about their daily routines, inter-mixed with awestruck tourists, a few mouths agape as they take in the scenery. All these factors in combination with the fresh air, is intoxicating.
The Siena market is the perfect place to buy some reasonably priced gifts to take home or just to pick up something for your self. Perhaps the latest street fashions?
Whatever your purpose, you will find a grand selection of costume jewellery, foot wear, kitchen equipment, linens, fabrics, lamps and light shades, plants, undergarments (some risqué), leather goods (watch for fakes), gold-fish (seriously), flowers and much more. …I purchased a Florentine inspired lampshade on my last visit which I just love.
I have come to admire the beautifully displayed fruits and vegetables lying in mounds, piled high in crates or lined row on row based on the seller.
Tuscan pecorino cheese is my favourite formaggio (cheese) and there are so many variations. I must resist the temptation of throwing myself onto the tables!
The meat section of the market is impressive. There are people lined up waiting for a favourite butcher to slice both typical Tuscan cured meats / carne (rabbit, boar, chicken etc) as well as, to collect fresh fish from the fishmongers.
There is also a cooked food section and the delicious aroma’s will find you before you land there. My husband and I had Italian “take away” food on our last visit and purchased roasted pollo (chicken) and fresh spring vegetables in tempura batter both sold by weight. For 5 euros we ate well, sitting in the in the relaxing La Lizza park while overlooking the historic walls of the Fortezza. Wonderful!
On Friday mornings in the same location there is a smaller market with local farmers selling fresh breads, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, olive oils and other local products.
On the third Sunday of each month there is an antiques market held in the Piazza del Mercato, just behind Piazza del Campo.