One of the best places to gauge Italy’s changing demographics are the open air markets held throughout Milan each week. Our neighborhood affair takes place on Tuesday and Saturday. Hosted in a square bordering Via Vitruvio, its a great place to buy everything from olive oil and parakeets, to Italian translations of the Koran, and cheap pantyhose.
For the last month, I’ve forced myself to go down to the market, and record the different languages I encounter as I walk from one end to the other. French, Arabic, Spanish, Tamil, together with several different Italian dialects, are the primary languages spoken. Often I have found myself recording one language on my left, another on my right, simultaneously.
Focused on making audio recordings, I almost always left my camera behind on these trips. Last week, however, I made an exception. An Egyptian merchant had been selling Obama-themed grocery bags for the previous couple of weeks. I didn’t want to buy one. However, I didn’t want to leave Milan without having taken a picture of one of them either.