My love of antiques has always made me hunger for the famous antique market held the first Saturday and Sunday of each month in Arezzo. This time I was determined that we would make it there to explore all its treasures. Arezzo is rich in art and dates to Etruscan times, when it was part of the Dodecapolis, i.e. one of the twelve most important Etruscan cities. Situated along via Cassia, during Roman times it played a crucial role and was well known for its pottery products.
The drive was under an hour from Ficulle and the GPS helped us find not only the beautiful city of Arezzo but the free parking located just outside the walls of the city. A long escalator takes you to the upper level of the city where more than 500 vendors display their wares.
It is a bit overwhelming to see all the vendors and their merchandise spread out in tents, stairs, alleyways and just about any available space.
We saw some promising objects as we entered the area but agreed to return later in the day to purchase them. Fortunately, moments later we reconsidered and returned to bargain and take possession of an antique lamp as well as a small wooden bathroom medicine cabinet.
Bargaining was an option, (read expected) and many vendors accepted credit cards (although we chose to use contanti (cash). It was cheering to see that not everyone were strainieri (tourists), but many Italian speakers; hence locals also attended and valued the market. We continued making our way amidst the myriad of streets and curving alleys. A visual delight at each turn. We purchased cesti (baskets), commodini (bedside tables) and specchi (mirrors).
Now the question was how to get it back to the car???? Needless to say we were not the first or only people to be faced with this dilemma. An api (literally translated as ‘bee’ but in this case a very small 3 wheeled vehicle that traverses the area and can be hired to take your wares to your car. By the time we had collected our treasures there was precious little room in the api for my husband and myself. Arturo gamely climbed in the back of the open bed api and I squeezed into the front seat beside the driver.
When we return to Italy in the spring we will definitely arrange our dates to coincide with this wonderful market. But if you cannot make it on the specific weekend, please know that the city is peppered with antique shops that are open each day.