Food Market in ground floor of Palazzo della Ragione, Padova, Italy

In the center of the major produce market in Padova, Italy located between Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta are the market stalls in the ground floor of the Palazzo della Ragione. According to “Rick Steves’ Italy, 2013,” this H-shaped arcane, was, for centuries, the location of the market for luxury items such as furs, fine cloths, gold, and silver up until the devastating loss to the French in 1797. After that, with no market for luxury items, the arcane reverted to selling meat and cheese in this covered area, and this explains why these shops are now located in an area with imposing iron gates that are used to lock up each evening.

As with any Italian market, meat such as prosciutti, salame, beef, pork, and chicken are abundant, and with this being Northern Italy, there is plenty of horse and rabbit meat sold here, too. Formaggi (cheese) and pane (bread) are standard fare, too, and both are so lovely to view and sample. Truly here, you eat first with your eyes before you do your mouth.

Here are some photos of the “macellerias,” which are the butcher shops as well as other small shops that specialize in all sorts of processed meats and cheeses.

Here are some of the shops and products that merchandise horse meat (“cavallo,” in Italian).

There are “supermercati” (supermarkets) here, but the draw of these small shops that open early in the morning and are closed by early afternoon just presents such a wide array of beautiful foods that look and taste so great that it is refreshing to experience such markets that have been going on here in Italy for centuries. Here is hoping for many more centuries to come.