Outdoor Food & Antique Markets in Tuscany
Outdoor Food & Antique Markets in Tuscany
Apart from being the most unique source of souvenirs and consolation gifts for the friends you left behind, outdoor markets are some of the most interesting places in Italy. Almost all of them offer a collection of items that ranges from near-worthless knick knacks to priceless works of art, from the ancient to the post-post modern. Some are specialized but all welcome visitors, who are encouraged to have fun bargaining in English, Italian, sign language or any combination of the above. A word to the wise: keep your money and valuables stashed under at least one layer of clothes. Who wants to spend the whole time worrying why all those people are jostling you?
Here is a partial calendar of outdoor markets held in Tuscany.
Keep in mind that special outdoor markets are almost always held on the occasion of town fairs and festivals.
(Piazza Grande, first weekend of the month). The crème de la crème of flea markets, this one almost resembles an outdoor furniture museum. Worth a visit just to gawk, but don't worry, you can also find smaller items that will fit into your suitcase. While you're there, pop into the nearby church of San Francesco to see Piero della Francesca's magnificent frescoes.
(Teatro Tenda/Lungarno Aldo Moro, October 21-22). Every guide book will tell you about the famed Straw Market, but this annual gathering offers Florentines a chance to sell some of their families' old stuff. You know, that 16th-century oil you found in the attic, or the 18th-century chairs that don't match the new dining room table.
(Piazza San Giusto and surrounding, third Saturday and Sunday of every month). Specializes in furniture, from sturdy peasant fare to elegant pieces made by the French artisans who followed the Bonapartes here in the 19th century; but look for antique ceramics, handmade lace and beaten tin implements.
(Piazza Marconi, Wednesdays) Mostly clothes. Great market for cashmire lovers.
(Piazza del Comune, Saturday before Easter, September 8 and Christmas Day). Specializing in antique books and linens. Step around the corner and visit the Duomo while you're at it, and roam around the center of this lovely little town.
- Porto Santo Stefano
(April 15-17, July 28-29, August 25-26). An interesting feature of this seaside market is the chance to find furniture and equipment salvaged from sailing boats and cruise ships.
(Palazzo Casali, third weekend of every month). You'll probably hear as much English as Italian in this wonderful hilltown, capital of a region nicknamed Chiantishire.
(Via Cigliegiale, every Wednesday and Saturday). A bustling market that winds through dozens of streets surrounding the glorious square. Amongst the antiques you'll also find modern kitchen utensils, scrumptious local cheeses and salamis, cheap Chinese blouses and the magnificent architecture of this wrongly overlooked Tuscan jewel.
- Every day
Carrara, covered market
Pisa, piazza delle Vettovaglie
Castagneto Carducci, piazza del Popolo
Castelfranco di Sotto, piazza XX Settembre and piazza Garibaldi
Lido di Camaiore
Foiano della Chiana
Prato, viale Galilei
San Casciano in Val di Pesa, piazza della Repubblica
San Giovanni d'Asso
Cecina, piazza del Mercato
Figline Valdarno, piazza M. Ficino
Massa, piazza degli Aranci and old historic town
Sinalunga, piazza Garibaldi
Certaldo, piazza Boccaccio
Chianciano Terme, via della Pace
Lucca, near the market of via Bacchettoni
Pisa, piazza Vittirio Emanuele II. You can find a large variety of exotic medieval flavors in this little farmers market
Pitigliano, piazza delle Fiere
Bibbona, piazza del Mercato
Cascina Terme, piazza Mazzini
Giglio Castello, Giglio Island
Lucignano, via Matteotti
Monteriggioni, Castellina Scalo
Pietrasanta, piazza dello Statuto
Poggio a Caiano, piazza IV Novembre
Tavarnelle Val di Pesa
San Marcello Pistoiese
Colle Val d'Elsa, piazza Arnolfo
Montaione, piazza della Repubblica
Montemurlo, piazza Amendola
Signa, viale Mazzini
Pontedera, corso Matteotti
Portoferraio, piazza della Repubblica
Torre del Lago
Villafranca di Lunigiana, piazza San Giovanni and piazza della Repubblica
Arezzo, piazza Sant'Agostino
Castiglione della Pescaia
Castelfiorentino, piazza Kennedy
Fiesole, piazza Mino
Impruneta, piazza Buondelmonti
Lastra a Signa, old historic town
Marina di Pietrasanta
Montelupo Fiorentino, piazza VIII Marzo
Montopoli Val d'Arno, piazzale della Repubblica
Pescia, piazza del Mercato
San Vincezo, via Vittorio Emanuele