The piazze and arcaded porticoes of Italy are the settings for some of Italy’s most pleasurable shopping experiences. The great antique and flea markets of Italy are tucked into the nooks and crannies of almost every town, village and city where locals and tourists alike can find unexpected treasures and destination bargains at open air stands and tented booths.
The markets often have colorful names like the Mercantino del Pidocchietto (Little Louse Market) in Passignano sul Trasimeno near Perugia or the Mercato delle Briciole (Market of the Crumbs) in Spoleto. Although the name alludes to the cast offs or crumbs that fall from the master’s table, the antiques, crafts and collectables found at this market are anything but. Located in the centro storia (historic center) of the city over 100 exhibitors fill their stalls with antiquarian delights and products typical of the region.
These cose d’altri tempi, things from another time remind us of long cherished heirlooms that connect us to the past. We can only imagine, or if we are lucky hear, the stories of the interior life found in each object. The connection to an owner, place or event that lives on in their material possessions.
Two of the most famous antique fairs in Italy are in the town of Arezzo with more than 1,000 vendors from Italy and all over Europe and the Mercatore del Naviglio Grande, held along the canals of Leonardo in Milan’s artsy Navigli district. You can wander over 2 kilometers of stands while shopping the unique stores found in Navigli.
Here are a few antique and flea markets to see and savor in Italy including the evocative Il Tarlo (The Moth) held in Genoa. Check on-line for dates and specific locations as markets are often seasonal.
Fiera del Cardinale – Cardinal’s Fair (Varese)
Carabattol Fiera – Fair of the Trinkets (Vinci)
La Soffitta in Piazza – The Attic in the Piazza (Ravenna)
Cose di Vecchie Case – Things from Old Houses (Belluno)