Porta Banana, Made in Italy

September 21, 2011

I can’t find in Sicilian stores what I really want: plastic baggies, Twizzlers, Gorilla tape, almond butter, skim milk, a simple T-shirt without mangled English, ant traps.

Ants march into my living room in the evening as if they’re out–like every good Sicilian–for a passeggiata. I scour the hardware store and then ask my GoogleTranslate-prepared question: Ci sono trappoli per formiche? Are there traps for ants?

The shop assistant looks at me and laughs. We have traps for mice, Signora, but they are too big for your ants. Ha ha. 

Anyway, while I’m rifling through the anti-pest section of the store, I come upon this mean-looking anti-pigeon device. I get four. Pigeons mate and roost and coo and poop on my balcony–of all the milllions of places they could’ve chosen!  They’re not at all scared of a banging broom. Will these torture devices work?

Italian Anti-pigeon Devices, copyright Jann Huizenga

Another weird thing I buy that day is a porta banana, a banana-carrier. Made in Italy, by the way.

“Why?” I ask the salesclerk.

“So that your banana does not get crushed in your bag,” she explains.

Porta Banana in Italy, copyright Jann Huizenga

Italian Banana carrier, copyright Jann Huizenga


Leave a comment on this post (or a previous one) and you’ll be entered in a raffle to win the porta banana! (You must have an address in North America–not to leave a comment, but to win the weird green thing.) You could put a string through it and carry it as a banana-purse.


Have you bought something odd recently?


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46 comments to Porta Banana, Made in Italy

  • Does the banana always fit into the porta banana? Or do you have to bring with you the porta banana when you’re going to buy the fruit?? 😉

  • catherine billups

    http://www.emporiovalenti.it/pagina_principale/category_tree,137_140 you can buy Raid esca formic he on this site.

  • catherine billups

    Jann, I assure you that I buy these little Raid ant houses every year here in the North in supermarket Essalunga. I have never had to buy them in Sicily.

  • The porta banda looks entirely practical to this banana lover, and I’d like a whole bunch of them, in a rainbow of colors, to wear at once as accessories. One could wear them as a necklace or maybe even earrings, no?

  • I can imagine Mae West’s reaction to a man carrying a portabanana: “Is that a portabanana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?”
    Maybe you could mix the Borax and jam, as Cathy suggested, and spread it in an open portabanana to use as an ant trap. Just don’t pick up the wrong portabanana to take with you when you head out walking.

  • Jann, would you believe I bought the Significant Other a porta banana about a month ago? I was tired of fishing smashed rotting bananas from his backpack, that according to him, he never eats cause they’re all bruised. You think? This post had me giggling! The comment about the mouse traps and the ants…I’m still chucking! 🙂

  • Hi Jann, I hope the porta banana doesn’t undercut the sales of my lettuce luggage and tomato tote! Hope to see you this winter!

  • Porta banana? Davvero? Oh, my goodness. Remembering last year, I brought lots of ziplock bags with me this time.

  • I haven’t bought anything weird yet but definitely going to look in a Regal Canada and get a PORTA BANANA for me and my friends!!! As for the formigalie as I call them, we get them to here in Canada during the start of summer and I buy ant traps by the 20’s only need them on ground floor so far…make my skin crawl…Thanks for the porta banana idea.

  • Cathy

    Oh Jann, you do make me laugh-I’ve enjoyed your blog for so long now and it never gets boring 🙂 Now for the ants — can you buy Borax soap powder there? Or perhaps someone from the US could send you some? Mixing Borax with some jam then set it out for the ants, it will kill them-you could put it outside whereever they are getting in. Its easy & worked for me..

    The Porta Banana… While I haven’t seen them in stores here in my corner of Atlantic Canada, they are sold through the Regal mail order catalog here in Canada, but only in a dull yellow.. The bright colors of these are great! I’d love to boast that I own a bona fide Porta Banana from my beloved Italy! Crazy as they are, it IS a good idea!

    Thanks again for giving me a chuckle, I appreciate all I can get lately. Sadly, my sweet Mother passed away suddenly 2 wks ago; she was a huge part of life for me & my own family and we are still trying to come to terms with the loss.

    Take care & good luck with the ants,

    • Jann

      Cathy, I am so sorry to hear about your mother. I’m sending you a big, warm, virtual hug. I lost my mom a decade ago. It is so hard–I still sometimes struggle with the loss.

      Thank you for passing along the ant & banana purse tips!

  • catherine billups

    you can get Raid little plastic houses for ants in supermarkets. Small, beige plastic and fit anywhere and work. Ikea has ziplock plastic baggies.

    • Jann

      Catherine–thanks for these tips! I have looked high and low for those little houses–in supermarkets and hardware stores. But I will keep searching if you think they can be found.

  • cemal karahan

    Hi, Jann…This post about ants and banana carriers really put me in laughter…
    thanks for making me laugh..I also appreciated the comments of your friend which added extra remarks to my enjoyment..Thanks to them, too..Anyway what I have noticed in total remarks that only oneor two persons dealt with the trouble and the solutions…This is a real problem, ı mean , ants and there are a lot of products to be sold in markets and drugstores ,maybe..so if you enlarge your research ,I’m sure you could get one nearby…if the trouble isn’t solved, I could try to find here the most useful product for you…Ok..! and send you by post. So don’t worry and put it in time..! I sent you the pictures of the products via windowslive e mail beginning with the name …… atikhan…hope it’ll reCH YOU …GOOD LUCK… The names of some of the marks. Solfac WP 10 , Shock out sc 12 , Kothrine SC.50, Bayer maxforce Quantum, Shock out plus.. and many more…..

  • Linda

    I want a banana borsa too! I have not seen these around but I would use it! I think you are on to something. why stop at bananas. apples ,pears …

  • I get it.
    Genius, really!
    I send a small snack for merenda to school each day with my daughter. She rejects the bananas bc they get smashed in her book bag.

    I haven’t bought anything strange lately. If you ever have the need for a mouse trap, I would skip it altogether and go staight for the poison. (Advice from one who has just recently rid her garage of a sizable topo. Ick.)

  • Marie Clayton

    Ciao Jann,all the way from Valentine Australia. Love receiving your blog every few weeks (not coming fast enough though!!!) Was last in Sicily in 1981 when we visited my parents birth country…and what a country it is!!!!!!
    Love the porta banana but we’ve had them here in Australia for some time now!!! Good to know that we are keeping up with the rest of the world.

    Baci from Australia – down under XXX

    • Jann

      Ciao Marie from Down Under! It’s great to hear from you. 20 years is too long to have stayed away from Sicily–hope you get back soon!

  • joe girolamo


    Back in Modica, unloaded my suitcase, lightweight spackle, peanut butter,instant oatmeal, list goes on. Still the best place!

  • I’ve seen the porta banana before! A one trick pony, but definitely one that does a very important trick.

  • susan v

    Too funny—–hmmmm….Im thinking of a new business….Trappoli per Formiche (made in the USA) Think they would sell? As for the “porta banana” only in Italy!

  • Hello Jann, I am commenting primarily because I WANT ONE!!! haha…I really do…but also because I love this post…and your blog in general I look forward to each and every post. To say I love your photography would be an understatement. Also, I just posted something on my blog today that I think you will like very much ( i hope) …http://lianasofia.com/travel/sicily-my-sicily/ ENJOY!!!

    • Jann

      Ciao Liana Sofia–yes, I love your blogpost! An amazing photo of Ibla! And how perfect to have caught those birds in the light. Brava.

  • Wayne

    Those porto bananas could have MANY uses! Just sayin’

  • Renee

    Now I know what get for souveniers when I travel to Sicily next year!

  • Aida

    Jann, while Italy does not have ant traps, they have Porto banana….how cool is that….hugs

  • Gian Banchero

    Sign me up for a porta banana, I know it would be a winner at the next meeting of my Italian club… At first I thought the article was about a port city on the Italian Riviera. Thanks for the laugh!

  • –porta banana!! what a superb invention 🙂 xx

  • amy

    Oh my goodness, that is so smart! I hate my bananas getting smushed in my tote bag…

  • Michelle

    Must. Have. Porta Banana!!! 🙂 I love it!

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