Tourism in Italy, which was devastated from 2020-21 due to the pandemic, may take off again this summer with visitors focusing on “rich, unique, traditional experiences”, says the Italian Travel and Tourism Federation.
Searching out antiques comes into that category and where better than the antiques markets in Italy’s beautiful towns and small cities to buy textiles, especially linens, picture frames, mirrors, art, glass, ceramics and lighting, to cram into the car boot or airline baggage?
Here we look at a few in Tuscany, one in Umbria and another in northern Italy.
The ancient Tuscan city of Arezzo is an arts marvel, packed with Roman ruins, medieval walls, murals by the Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca, and a museum dedicated to the 16th century art historian Giorgio Vasari plus dozens of art galleries and antiques shops.
Its famed monthly antiques market has been held for nearly 50 years and attracts hundreds of exhibitors whose stands weave their way through the city’s central piazzas and colonnades and winding side alleys selling art, silverware, furniture, ceramics, silverware, antiquarian books and the rest to eager buyers.
The upcoming market runs on Saturday and Sunday, June 4-5.
Town that rocks
The medieval town of Terranuova Bracciolini is set on the River Arno in the province of Arezzo and visitors are drawn here to the rockscapes which make up much of the surrounding landscape, painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, it is said.
Every second Sunday of the month an antiques market is held in the historic piazza, so June 12 is the next.
Birthplace of composer Giacomo Puccini, whose home is now a museum, Lucca’s many attractions include the broad tree-lined pathways along the tops of the massive 16th-17th century ramparts, now a promenade, and a 14th century cathedral.
High on the list for antiqueshunters is the monthly two-day antiques market with the next on Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19.
Held since the 1970s all round the town’s classical squares, thousands of antiques and vintage pieces are on offer including sculptures.
Little and large
A few miles from Padua in Veneto, northern Italy, in the Valle Agredo, is the small town of Piazzola sul Brenta where a large scenic antiques market – it took one visitor four hours to walk round – is held in front of the 16th century Villa Contorini on the last Sunday of month, so May 29 and June 26 are the next ones.
The two-day antiques market in Pistoia, near Florence, runs monthly in a converted warehouse in the town with 80 mainly local stallholders selling lanterns and other lighting, keys and mirrors, with the next on Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12.
If you are visiting Florence you might head for the Piazza San Spirito fleamarket which runs monthly, with the next on Sunday, June 12.
It is described on the invaluable website fleamarketinsiders.com as rather laidback, with many of the vendors being regulars. Art deco lamps and silverware are among the offerings here.
That’s the spirit
As one description has it, the atmosphere in the pretty village of Pissignano, near Spoleto in Umbria is ‘nourishing for the spirit’ in reference to the nearby Temple of Clitumnus on the banks of the river, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A monthly antiques market is held in the village with the next on Sunday, June 5.