The Tangerine Truck

November 14, 2013

Early morning in Acireale, at the foot of Etna.  Just me and a tangerine truck on Piazza San Domenico.

Clickety clack I go over the lava stones, aiming at the orangeness.

Little Orange Truck in Acireale, Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Someone appears out of nowhere.

Ciao. Is this your truck? What’s your name?




Oh, like light (luce)?

Si, si.

I crouch and shoot. He is all lightness and charm, like 99% of Sicilians I collar. He even says I can put him on the internet.

Where did you get the cauliflower?



I don’t tell him I’ve just come from there on a long grey-dawn highway, stars still burning in the sky, cursing all the trucks like his I had to pass on scary curves.  I buy a rosy head for €1.50 and wonder: how many more will he have to sell to recoup gasoline costs & eke out a living wage?

Man Selling Pink Cauliflower in SIcily, copyright Jann Huizenga

By the time I leave he’s already sweet-talking his second customer.

Man Selling Pink Cauliflower in Sicily, copyright Jann Huizenga

Buona fortuna, Lucio, e grazie.


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28 comments to The Tangerine Truck

  • You capture the beauty, character, and personality of each of your subjects superbly.

    Mr. Tangerine man is Fabulous.

    It’s almost as if you live in another universe.

    So are you, Jann. Xxxxxxxooo

  • Lovely, Jann. You are skilled in discovering and communicating these vignettes. I like their modesty and subtlety, and such a cute little three-wheeled vehicle.

  • love those opening lines and what a great character and fantastic images that capture him so beautifully! Gorgeous xxx

    • Jann

      Ciao Lisa, I trust all is well with you way up north there. I’m surprised by how similar life seems when you compare a tiny northern village in Italy with a village in Sicily… xxx back

  • Great colours, engaging anecdote (as always! I love your slice of Sicilian life), and one heck of a fabulous little orange truck. Mille grazie! xo

  • vicki carol

    I saw that kind of truck my favorite movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” and wondered if that was the highway norm. Loved the scene at the end when they all crowd in the little truck and say goodbye. It is as colorful as the people. Thanks for the reminder that I need to watch the movie again.

    • Jann

      Hi Vicki–I would not say that the teeny trucks are the highway norm. No. There are plenty of large trucks, too. But it’s the teeny ones putting along at about 20 mph that seem a bit dangerous! The teeny cute ones usually belong to farmers or veggie sellers, and really early in the morning they’re all going to market. xxxx

  • Ian Henry

    Hi Jan hope you are well,we are back in Sicily are you about?

  • Sam

    I see that he has positioned himself well away from any competition.

    • Jann

      He found the perfect sunny spot in a main piazza. On the opposite side is a church with a tall staircase. When I returned to the piazza later, there he was, sitting way up on the steps watching over his truck.

  • Gorgeous Jann!!! I love his affectionate, respectful arm around the signora coming to buy her cauli…. The colours, the mood, the dignity… you capture so much so perfectly as always… xx

    • Jann

      Janine, when I saw him touch her like that, I wondered if he knew her. But I don’t think so. Just an affectionate, protective touch, with a bit of the salesman thrown in.

  • Beautiful photos and characters to match!

  • I love this…

  • ria

    I love your story Jann. Wish we had someone selling purple cauliflowers from tangarine trucks on the streets of California.

  • Jane

    Having just returned from Rome, a five week living experience, I enjoy all your short pieces and photography. I cannot wait to get back and also to return to Sicily and explore. the produce at my local market made me happiest. Now, homw, I am desperately seeking a ripe tomato and may not find same until next July. Sigh.

    • Jann

      Hi Jane, good luck with your search for a decent tomato! So glad you enjoyed your 5 weeks in Rome. I believe you had the best October weather ever, right???

  • Jann, you do such a great job “collaring” people to talk to and photograph! I admire your skill at doing so (I tend toward an innate shyness and fear I’d be a huge flop if I tried that!). By the way, how did he keep that stuff from toppling off the flatbed??

    • Jann

      Debbie, thanks for the compliment, but really all it takes is practice going up to people. You’ll get over your shyness once you start. Though I must say I find it quite a bit harder to photograph people in the US than in Italy. That’s actually not a flatbed per se–the sides of those little trucks pull down. 🙂

  • Nancy

    As usual, great photos. I am going to be in Sicily and Rome in February and March and am so looking forward to shopping from the vendors and living, or trying to, as an Italian for 5 weeks.

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