I love to go to the mercato (market) and I love shopping for food. The only problem is that our refrigerator is only twice as big as the one I had in my dorm room way back when. The one thing I don't like about the mercato is that I can't just look around at everything that is available. When I go to the macellaio (butcher), I have to tell him exactly what I want and how much of it. The same is true for each of the vendors at the mercato where I buy cheese, pasta, bread, and pastries.
I love to go to the supermercati (supermarkets) even though they're not all that big. Dave likes to go to the one closest to our house, called Standa.The prices are a little higher, but it is only a few blocks away from our apartment and it's even open on Sundays.
My favorite supermercato is the Co-Op, which is on the other side of Piazza Beccaria. It's probably about a 15 minute walk from our apartment. It has a great selection of and the prices are really good. I have a "Carta Socio," which lets me benefit from sales and discounts. Because Co-Op is a bit farther away from our house, I can only buy what I'm willing to carry back.
There are a few small supermercati sprinkled downtown like the one in the picture that I took a few weeks ago on via dei Servi. These supermercati have good selections and sell everything the larger ones do, like fresh meat, fruits, and vegetables.
There are many alimentari (small grocers) that seem to be located on every corner, which are like the 7-11's back home except the hours aren't as good. They don't generally sell any fresh meat, fruit, and vegetables although they do have milk, cheese, and a limited selection of vegetables. Sometimes they have a counter where they freshly slice prosciutto and other cheeses. They are also a little more expensive than supermercati, have a smaller selection, but are convenient in that there have many locations. And today, I saw a new one that just opened on via Ghibellina just a few blocks from our apartment.
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