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Italy Open-Air Markets

As you roam and explore Italy one of the resourceful ways to pick up that unique souvenir or gift for friends back home, is to go shopping at an outdoor market. Many local villages and larger cities have a traditional weekly market. The streets are closed off to traffic and convert into a sprawling flea market. Local vendors set up table shops offering a wide range of items from the inexpensive knickknack and bric-a-brac to gastronomical delicacies.

Italian markets are interesting and exhilarating way to spend part of your day, as most open early and then shutdown by midday. Some markets are specialized, selling only foods or just antiques, while others offer a variety of items such as clothing, household appliances, fabric, shoes and more. You can have fun trying to haggle the price of an item, but, generally, Italian vendors have their prices set in stone, and most of the pricing is within means; unless, you are shopping antiques. Remember to keep your money and important items hidden underneath a layer of clothing, because open-air markets, in Italy, can become extremely crowded, leaving you at risk for jostling, and more to the point, a prime candidate for a pick-pocket.

If you have the opportunity to shop at an Italian market, it is a wonderful way to interact with the local people, and really absorb their culture. It will allow you to observe the typical dress or the color trend for the season, the traditional foods and produce, and as well as, the common gestures made while communicating. As you walk through the merchandised streets, stop and allow the surrounding air to mingle with your sense of smell, capturing the scent of cheeses and salami, fresh fish, sweet smells of candy, baked breads, and brewing coffee. Let it tease you, let it pull you toward your purchase, and it will.

There are real unique treasures waiting to be stumbled upon at antique markets. So, if you are lucky enough to be in a village, which is having one, take a look around. As the saying goes, “Another man’s junk is another mans treasure.” This is true for Italy’s antique markets, where you can find items like glassware and china, furniture pieces which visually speaks of its history, time period clothing, musical instruments, and many other remnants from bygone eras. However, keep in mind, the earlier you get there, the better bargains are to be found, and the best selections.

Some markets only take place at certain times of the year. They are generally specialty markets and will gear to either antiques or some other specialized item.
While visiting Rome, you may wish to visit its largest market, which takes place at Piazza de Port Portese from the hours of 0500 to 1400, on Sundays. It is a good way to spend a colorful Sunday in Rome. After you have strolled through the Piazza de Port Portese market, you may wish to experience Rome’s major antique and collectors’ market, also known as the Underground. This market can be found in a parking lot between the streets Via Sistine and Via Veneto from 1500 to 2000 on Saturday, and from 1030 to 1930 on Sundays, but this market takes place during the autumn and winter months, not in the summertime.

Florence has its Mercato Nuovo also called the Straw Market, where you can find leather goods, silk items, and Italian souvenirs. This market is pretty much daily open Tuesday thru Saturday, from 0900 to 1730. Unfortunately, this market is only convenient to those traveling to this part of Italy in the winter.

If you happen to be in the Veneto region on the last Sunday of the month, you may want to take a trip to the Vicenza area. There is a market in the village of Piazzola Sul Brenta, where more than 600 vendors come together and set up shop to bargain and deal. Also, in the Veneto region is Venice, there are mini open-air markets held all throughout the city on a daily basis. If you make your way to the Rialto, you will find a great market to pick up your Venice souvenirs, and even grab a snack.

Open-air markets are a cultural part of Italian life, and it is a wonderful way for you, the tourist, to soak up the local flare and bargain. So, for your market shopping convenience, the following is a list of regions and city.

Abruzzo:

•    Castelli- Ceramic and craft market held yearly during the summer months of July and August.
•    Pescara- Street market held every year in the summer months of July and August.
•    L’Aquila- Antique and art market held the second weekend of each month, at the Piazza Santa Maria di Paganica.

Apulia:

•    Brindisi- Antiques and other items sold at this market, which is held on the first Sunday of each month in the Piazza Teresa.
•    Lecce- Flower market held around May 10- May 20.
•    Otranto- Handmade craft’s market held at the end of August.

Basilicata:

•    Policoro- Handmade craft’s market held in August.

Calabria:

•    Cosenza- Market held everyday in Via Lungo Crati de Seta. Also, antique and ornamental objects market held the second Sunday of each month at Largo Cimalonga.
•    Soverta- This market is considered the biggest market in Calabria, where there are over 50 vendors selling framed paintings and pictures. It takes the last weekend of each month at Corso Umberto I.

Campania:

•    Cusano Mutri- Market with items made of wood, stone, and wicker. It is held in the old historic town on the last weekend of each month.
•    Napoli- The weekend market in Viale Dorhn of the Villa Comunale is held twice a month. The food market in Porta Nolana is held all year round.
•    Salerno- This is a really good market for those who are collectors. There are about 50 vendors, and it takes place the second weekend of each month at Piazza Alfano I.

Emilia-Romagna:

•    Ferrara- Market held every Monday at Piazza Travaglio.
•    Modena- Markets are held at Via Corso Cavour, Viale Beregario, and Viale Fontanelli on Monday from 0800 to 1300.

Veneto:

•    Padua- Market held the third Sunday of each month at Prato della Valle.
•    Treviso- Market held the fourth Sunday of each month at Borgo Cavour.
•    Verona- Market held the third Sunday of each month at Piazza San Zeno.

Friuli-Venezia Giulia:

•    Maniago- Market is held every Monday in the city center from 0800 to 1300.
•    Aviano- Market is held every Tuesday in the city center from 0800 to 1300. The first Sunday of every month there is an antique market from 0800 to 1300.
•    Pordenone- Market is held on Wednesday and Saturday from 0800 to 1300. An antique market is held on the last Sunday of each month from 0800 to 1300.
•    San Daniele- Market is held on Wednesday from 0800 to 1300.
•    Spilimbergo- Market is held on Saturday from 0800 to 1300.
•    Udine- Market is held on Sunday from 0800 to 1300.
•    Trieste- Market is held everyday from 0800 to 1300.
•    Vittorio Veneto- Antique market is held second Saturday of each month in the evening, and on the second Sunday of each month during the day.

Again, shopping at Italian markets, in Italy, is a splendid way to relax and take a breather from sightseeing, while you enjoy the local surrounding and indulge your shopping desires. Markets are not just for antiques, there are a wide variety of items sold there, and it can be an inexpensive way to shop for souvenirs and gifts to remind you of your Italy travels. Happy shopping.

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