The hawkers

Hawkers voices are one of the most distinctive sounds of Puglia. In all the small and large centers there are local markets, outdoors or indoors, where you can find fresh food, especially seafood, fruits and vegetables. Sellers attract customers loudly declaiming names and prices of their products. Shouting and screaming only: this is the marketing strategy made in Puglia, which doesn’t care about the technological progress of modern techniques of advertising and competition from hypermarkets. An Italian author of ‘900 called the cries of hawkers “the most beautiful, spontaneous and alive of dialect poetry and illiterate.” While crying, traders usually sing real songs in the local dialect. The price tags, written by hand on a piece of raw cardboard, are often ungrammatical. Obviously they are not fixed prices! Negotiation is part of the folklore of commerce of Puglia. You can often find on street corners small trucks set up as stalls, with boxes of fruit, vegetables or fish on display.


One of the mottos of the Apulian cuisine, resulting from the agricultural vocation of the region, is just to eat fresh, seasonal, and most importantly, locally sourced. Many Apulians own a piece of land, while not farmers by profession, where they plant their own vegetable garden, useful to meet family needs. In small towns it is common to find resales of homemade fruits and vegetables: the surplus of small production are put on display on chairs or wooden boxes directly on the sidewalk, in front of the house or in the garage of the small producer.


1 June 2015
Apulian Roots | The hawkers
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