An Urban Grocery

grocery front

That’s it right there.  Cortona’s one grocery, located on the main piazza.

It is the complete opposite of sprawl-mart America.  It is about 1,000 square feet in size.  One would assume perhaps that relying on such a small space would lead to hardships.

Not so.

This store stocks just about everything one needs to live comfortably.  Plenty of food choice, just not dozens of choices of the same thing.  They also stock household cleaning supplies, paper goods, small electronic devices and other necessities.   They sell shampoo and toothpaste and even instant-fire starters for fireplaces.





Lots of wine….notice that there are bottles tucked in every space.
They do not however sell broad varieties of meat.  They have the basics – a couple of varieties of prosciutto, some ham, some chicken breasts, sausages and salami.


Beef and pork and some chicken are sold at the one butcher in town.   A great variety of prosciutto is sold at another shop down the street. Some bread is sold there, but the bakery provides the best choices. Fresh fruits and vegetables are sold at two green grocers.

Each shop is within a one minute walk of the others.  Americans would say that it isnt convenient to have to split one’s shopping between stores.  But this provides a great way to run into people you might not otherwise see.  And most importantly, it allows small, locally owned businesses to thrive.  Rather than one corporation controlling everything you buy, here each shop represents a family business and the money stays in town.

This store is living proof that we can live smaller than we currently do.  Why do we insist on continuing the pattern of bigger is better?  Nature is demanding that we live in lighter ways; economics will soon follow.  American’s will undergo a painful transition to a way of living that is already so successful here.

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