We were lucky to to have walked the streets of the market in Bra on a warm, clear autumn morning, far from the summer heat and the cold winter months, fully enjoying the atmosphere on a Friday morning when the city comes alive.
Picking this market day to visit the capital of Roero proved to be a really good choice: one has the opportunity to discover this beautiful small city that is rich in culture and local delicacies: the Bra bread, its famous sausage and the Bra DOP cheese, both soft and hard.
This cheese shares the city’s name but is produced mainly in the city’s surroundings.
Much of the market is held in the area called la Rocca where ample parking can be found and it is preferable to arrive early in the morning.
Where the market is held
The market takes place in distinct areas: Piazza Spreitenbach, Piazza XX Settembre and Via Garibaldi, Piazza Carlo Alberto and the covered wing in Piazza Giolitti.
On Friday the full weekly market is held; on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays instead its size is reduced, both in number of spaces and in commercial types.
Piazza Spreitenbach hosts a dozen refrigerated stands, a few fruit and vegetable stalls, a deli counter and a couple of fish stands. There are mainly cheese traders that previously occupied the Via Garibaldi arcades.
The adjacent Piazza XX Settembre allows one to enter gradually into the heart of the market: quality fruit and vegetables, numerous clothing, lace, carpets with arabesque motifs, jewelery and household items stalls occupy the Corso Garibaldi wings up to the Sant ‘Andrea Parish, next to the City hall.
Walking down Via Mendicità Istruita and Via Cavour you’ll reach Piazza Carlo Alberto in about 8 minutes.
Here we find the Teatro Politeama, numerous bars and cafes and within easy reach the renowned Caffetteria and Pasticceria Converso, the city’s refined lounge and member of the “Historical places of Italy“.
Piazza Carlo Alberto: typical local products and clothing
The goods on display vary: at the center of the piazza we find the leather, footwear, traditional and ethnic clothing stands.
The market’s perimeters are dedicated to the food stands, a real feast for the eyes: various types of pasta and fresh bread from the Fabio bakery, cold cuts and cheeses in abundance, a couple of well stocked fish stands, fruit and vegetables.
Focus falls on a stand brimming with olives and stands with salted fish, fresh mushrooms and a huge variety of legumes: grass peas, lupins, chick peas, lentils, beans, broad beans.
Moving along Via Guala and then turning onto Via Gandino you reach Piazza Giolitti where the covered wing houses the most typical part of the market: the farmers market with roughly a dozen stands.
The farmers market
Arriving at the market when it begins to get empty, at around 11:30 – 12:00, you can get to know the producers directly.
You can choose from a vast variety of high quality meet cuts from a Lequio Tanaro farm, and there’s bread, flat bread, wheat, tarts and biscuits produced by a bio-bakery located in Confreria.
Paolo, from Demonte, offers fresh fish in tanks, clean and freshly prepared.
Well-stocked is Maria Paola’s stand which has beekeeping and hazelnuts cultivation products on display from her farm business in Bra.
Nearby, we find Marco, whose family-run farming business in Mondovi maintains the territory’s typical dairy production. On display we can see pure sheep cheese made exclusively from raw milk of Langhe local breed.
Here you’ll find: fresh and mature cheeses, ricotta, tomini, classic toma cheese and local pecorino cheese.
Photo Credits: Federico Carpino