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39 Photos To Inspire A Visit To Arezzo’s Antique Fair

arezzo antique fair: photo by Georgette Jupe

Even if you hate antiques, it’s impossible to dislike the monthly antique fair in Arezzo. Long ago, when I was climbing through wooden skeletons of houses on the outskirts of San Antonio. Playing hide and seek in pretty dangerous places went par for the course. During the days when ‘go play outside’ was obligatory in a young person’s childhood, I use to scoff at anyone who used old stuff to decorate their homes. In Texas, the shabby chic theme we see so much today has always been in style. Maybe it’s the access to really rusty things, or wooden objects that would so comfortably fit an Texas flag. I just wasn’t into any of it. I vowed that one day I would leave Texas and live a glamorous life in NYC, going to parties and holding the stems of my cosmopolitan glass with relative ease. And it when it came to my future house, let’s just say Barbie’s dream house had nothing on what I was going to do. I guess you could say I’m a bit of a dreamer, until I got off my ass and decide the doer part was pretty necessary too.

Now, almost 15 year’s later I find myself cooing at anything even slightly rustic. Italy has a way of making you appreciate relics of the past, well except the ones glorifying Mussolini. While I far from anything even slightly resembling a housewife, I do have ideas on how I want our home to look at it often includes a few, poignant pieces. Sort of like the antique pharmacy drawers you can find in one of my favorite artisan perfumery shops in Florence, the seductive Aqua Flor. So off we were, one Saturday morning, Nico, our friend Nancy in tow, to the town of Arezzo in Tuscany to check out the antique fair. This is embarrassing to admit, but I’ve never actually visited this famous town that lies only an hour from Florence, surrounded by four valleys.

I may have seen the damn palio della balestra in Sansepolcro, discovered one of the best restaurants in the outskirts, but somehow Arezzo proper has eluded us. It’s an elegant town, rich from a history of gold-smiths, the medieval town center was heavily destroyed during WWII. Check out this great read from The Telegraph about it. Unfortunately, many travelers skip Arezzo on the Tuscany route despite its perfection as a base for the Casertino valley in favor of the very touristy San Gimignano, Siena or Cortona. 

My advice is to come during the first Sunday of every month (and the previous Saturday), when the antique fair takes place. This is the biggest antique fair in Italy, dating back to 1968 and it is seriously cool. With over 500 sellers, around 20,000 visitors crowd Arezzo to haggle over the goods or simply just to soak in the atmosphere in the areas surrounding Corso Italia, Piazza San Francesco, Piazza Grande and the Logge del Vasari. I didn’t have overtly high expectations on actually buying anything but what I found was that this town was exactly what we needed. A break from Florence, all in order to embrace a little small town Tuscan life. You can also double it up with a visit to the thermal springs over at Rapolano Terme (which is what we did) and dinner in Castelnuovo Berardenga (more details below).

What can you get here? Well the pictures below paint a better idea than what I myself can explain but it’s essentially a beautiful mess of furniture, old china plate-wear, chandeliers, paintings, sketchings, maps, toys and much, much more. We picked up a few prints to hang in the house and had lunch at a cute restaurant ‘Osteria Mest’ recommended by the fine folks over at Italian Reflections on facebook.

Arezzo antique market grand entrance, in front of the Duomo cathedral

Arezzo antique market grand entrance, in front of the Duomo cathedral, think of all of the crap plates your MIL gave you that could fit in these cupboards!

On the main 'Corso' lies the chair version of 'the three musketeers.' I want them all.

On the main ‘Corso’ lies the chair version of ‘the three musketeers.’ I want them all.

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany - Girlinflorence

You can find anything, and I mean anything, at this fair

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany - Girlinflorence

A ‘leg up’ on your jewelry organization

Coffee stop at the elegant Caffe' Dei Costanti in front of the Basilica di San Francesco

Coffee stop at the elegant Caffe’ Dei Costanti in front of the Basilica di San Francesco

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany - Girlinflorence

Not sure exactly what was going on here, but I am pretty sure they were choosing names for a competition taking place in Arezzo

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany - Girlinflorence

The pulsating heart of corso Italia, and is that a Nico I see?

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: georgette Jupe

I’m pretty sure these are ancient coffee grinders, or maybe something a monkey pops out of

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

Seems a bit dangerous to set plates on the street but what do I know?

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

Eat your pinterest hearts out. I love these colorful knobs but never actually do anything with them

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

A must stop is to see the incredible frescoes by Piero della Francesco, the 14th century Basilica of San Francesco is 8 euros to visit (or you can get a cumulative ticket) and you must see the ‘legend of the cross.’ Right now Piero’s frescoes are undergoing renovations until the 6th of March.

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

You had me at ‘vintage brooch’

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

I don’t have the house for these chandeliers but a girl can dream right?

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

You can even pick u antique globes here, or puffy jackets ( I hope not)

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

Nancy and Nico rifling through vintage postcards

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

For who appreciates silver

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

35 euros for an antique sardine fork, and I kind of wanted it.

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

I’m guessing he went for the Queen album

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

This could be my mother’s garage, and I love it!

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

La Citta di Firenze in full glory

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

This almost looks too perfectly laid out

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

A pretty corner of the market — and yes you can sit on the furniture (I think)

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

In front of the Basilica di San Francesco

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

He is just too perfect not to photograph 😉

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

Even Italian kids have better fashion sense then me

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

At lunch, we dined next to the antique tables

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

I actually heard the guy selling this table say out loud to a friend “I don’t understand why this hasn’t sold’. uhhhh

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Coin collections with the ex-lire and old books

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snack time 🙂

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Anyone need a new TV?

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

Somewhere out there, a knight is naked

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

Um not sure what to do with this but I kind of want to tickle his mustache

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

An old washing machine from 1952. I thought it was a doll submarine

Arezzo Antique Fair - Tuscany- Photo credit: Georgette Jupe

I really hope those kids aren’t on Tinder yet

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pappardelle with duck

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a new age millefoglie

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Our lunch spot, Mest Osteria under the arches in piazza grande is a nice choice for creative local cuisine

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A just baked flat bread with prosciutto, pecorino cream and some greens

 


Quick Tips

How To Get  There

Car: By car, it is only an hour to Arezzo, take the A1/E35 to Raccordo Arezzo – Battifolle in Arezzo. Take exit Arezzo from A1/E35. Continue on Raccordo Arezzo – Battifolle. Take Viale Gaetano Salvemini to Via Madonna del Prato in Arezzo. Or to wherever you want to park. It’s about a 9km drive from the highway to the city.

Train: Arezzo is just an hour by train from Florence on the ‘Roma’ line, and costs 8,40€ one way. From what I saw, there are about two trains per hour. Easy!

Parking

The entire list of parking options for the fair are listed here (in Italian) but we chose the 24/hourParcheggio Pietri (known as Scale Mobili to the Italians) which has a combination of free & paid parking (cheap) with access to the center by escalator. It’s about 400 meters from the fair. The address is Via Giuseppe Pietri, 52100 Arezzo AR but put in ‘Parcheggio Pietri’ in your GPS or google maps and you’ll find it :).

How Often Is The Fair?

The Fiera Antiquaria takes place the first Sunday of every month and the precedent Saturday. The ‘heart’ of the fair stems from piazza grande and surrounding streets that come alive during this weekend. For good deals, come early! As the good stuff goes away fast, but before closing time is probably the best time to get a discount.

Fun Options Nearby & A Great Restaurant

Visit the Terme! We went to Terma Rapolano — Tuscan hot springs resort, a 40 minute drive from Arezzo which is easy to do and fun if you don’t mind a deviation, there are two spas there, we went for Antica Querciolaia.

Combine that with a stop for dinner at La Taverna della Berardenga, a suggestion from one of Nico’s colleagues, in the tiny town of Castelnuovo Berardenga and you will thank me later. This simple trattoria is AMAZING, with the best roasted duck with thyme this girl has ever tasted. Get everything, and make a reservation. Address: Via del Chianti, 70/74, Castelnuovo Berardenga SI. Phone:0577 355547.

Roasted duck with thyme at the very awesome Taverna di Berardenga

Roasted duck with thyme at the very awesome Taverna di Berardenga

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26 Comment

  1. Reply
    Paula
    18.02.2016 at 9:34

    Great story about a town I have had on my radar for quite a while now. Spending time there which coincides with the antique fair is a really good idea. Thankyou for the info and wonderful photos!
    I recently watched a 2010 French movie called Certified Copy with the wonderful Juliet Binoche and it was set in and around Arezzo. The area looks lovely!

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      18.02.2016 at 13:33

      Ciao Paula! Thanks for read about it :). I really don’t know why it’s taken me so long to visit! I really could have been here all day! There was so much to see..

      I’ll have to check out the film you mentioned, I actually need to watch more French flicks! My learning so far is pretty slow going..

  2. Reply
    Lorrie Rosenblum
    18.02.2016 at 13:40

    Fantastic post. This came at opportune time as we are researching our 2 month adventure in Florence set for April& May 2017. This was on my list but now is a must do. Enjoying your blog emensely Georgette.

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      18.02.2016 at 13:47

      Thanks Lorrie, I’m really happy to help! I definitely have more fun day trips and excursions to share with you guys! Anyone one enjoy this fair and Arezzo was a pleasant surprise as well!

  3. Reply
    Linda Chartier Scala
    18.02.2016 at 14:16

    Doll submarine! There was a time early on here where I would have utilised that lavatrice!

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      18.02.2016 at 14:19

      LOL It was the most bizarre thing I’ve seen, it must have fit like one outfit. But considering I don’t even have a dishwasher, I probably could have used it too 😉

  4. Reply
    Laney (Ortensia Blu)
    18.02.2016 at 14:34

    Great post – and love the photo commentary! And perfect timing since I’m planning to be there in May…

  5. Reply
    Valentina
    18.02.2016 at 16:00

    Love these pictures! It’s been ages since my last visit to Arezzo, where I actually went to university. We should plan another visit together 🙂

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      18.02.2016 at 16:21

      Anytime Valentina! We discovered a really cool restaurant in Castelnuovo Berardenga that you and Mario would adore! We could go there for dinner after the fair <3

  6. Reply
    Caterina
    18.02.2016 at 17:27

    Ciao Georgette,
    So happy you came down to my neck of the woods. Arezzo really is a lovely little city that hopefully will remain not as touristed as Siena or San Gimignano (Have you read what they are planning to do in the CT?). Anyway, you know me…just a few notes:
    The dates of the fair are always the FIRST Sunday of the month and the preceding Saturday. So technically it is not necessarily the first weekend of the month…(if the Saturday falls on a 30th or 31st).
    Osteria Mest – Good choice!
    The men in costume – This was actually the awards ceremony ( La ceremony di permission dei Giostratori) for the local jousters – those that perform in the twice a year jousting festival “La Giostra del Saracino”, held in June and September.
    Legend of the True Cross/Basilica di San Francesco – Not free. Entrance fee is 8 euros (reduced fare is 5euros) or if you want a combination ticket to also see the Vasari museum and a few others, it is 12 euros. Can’t remember what the reduced fare is. Probably 8 euros?). I think the Basilica and the frescoes are closed off now due to restoration, until late March or so?
    Will have to try La Taverna della Berardenga. Glad you had such a lovely day exploring the fair – there is always something interesting to see there! Have a great evening!

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      18.02.2016 at 23:20

      Ciao Caterina, I had a lovely lovely time visiting and I need to go back again. Thanks so much for your notes, I really needed a local’s input and I was dying to know about that award’s ceremony. I am curious about the Basilica because we were able to visit for free? But perhaps that was a one off? In any case I’ll update the post. Taverna della Berardenga was a real find. I am still drooling over that duck

      1. Reply
        Caterina
        19.02.2016 at 0:19

        First Sunday of the Month – free museum entrance…
        But I am surprised since they are restoring the frescoes…but maybe it is only M-F when they are working on them..?

        Also just saw what auto-incorrect did to my post. It should read ..”cerimonia di premiazione ”
        Duck is a good thing to drool over.
        p.s. saving your tips on Thailand (though perhaps a bit less romantic 😉 ) -taking my 2 boys this coming winter.

        1. Reply
          GirlInFlorence
          19.02.2016 at 11:26

          Cool Caterina! Maybe we got lucky because of the restorations? In any case I am happy you cleared up the cost. I REALLy recommend that Taverna, it’s very rustic but the food is spot on and I liked the fact that it was filled with locals from the town. Always a good sign. Where abouts in Thailand will you be? I’d be happy to provide recommendations. I have one last post to write on a more hidden island we ended our trip in (Koh Yao Noi), one of the coolest places I’ve ever been and so much less crowded than crazy Phuket. 🙂

  7. Reply
    Jacqueline Mariani
    18.02.2016 at 18:56

    Great coverage and photos! I’m fond of Arezzo, but have never been there during the fair. I think another well-timed trip is in order! Thanks for posting.

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      19.02.2016 at 18:43

      Thanks Jacqueline! I appreciate you commenting. I was so blown away with how charming the town is and we want to go back to take advantage of the before dinner vibe..

  8. Reply
    Vida Faraci
    18.02.2016 at 21:25

    Grazie 🇮🇹Bella !! For keeping my ( Dream !) Alive !!! Love the images each very different and unique !!!

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      19.02.2016 at 18:38

      Ciao Vida! Thanks girl! I really love this and it’s great to share..

  9. Reply
    Gianna
    18.02.2016 at 23:11

    Great post, great blog – all helping me plan my month in Florence this June. Question: are you expected to haggle? Yes, I’m searching your blog for day trips, especially to vineyards. 🙂

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      18.02.2016 at 23:22

      Gianna, thank you! From what I experienced, yes you can haggle, but obviously it depends on both the seller and the object. I actually am working on a post this week about a winery visit I did recently and will be covering Montalcino and Montepulciano in March so stay tuned!!!

  10. Reply
    Tony Staffaroni
    19.02.2016 at 16:59

    Fantastic post and awesome pics, is it bad that the ones that excite me the most are the food?! 🙂

    1. Reply
      GirlInFlorence
      19.02.2016 at 18:36

      NEVER that’s pretty what dictates my life tony 😉

  11. Reply
    Peggy
    20.02.2016 at 3:52

    Definitely inspiring. Won’t miss it.

  12. Reply
    Jacqueline Mariani
    23.03.2016 at 9:57

    Ciao Georgette. I’m definitely going April 2 but I’m curious to know how late the vendors stay open. Do they start shutting down around the usual time of 1:00 p.m., or, since it’s obviously a big event, do they stay open until later in the day?

    1. Reply
      Caterina
      23.03.2016 at 12:31

      Most vendors stay open all day for both the Saturday and Sunday. If the fair happens to coincide with other events or holidays, they often stay open late into the evening. They are all pretty spread out along the Corso Italia all the way up to the Duomo, into the Piazza Grande, and under the loggia and even down some of the side streets such as Via degli Albergotti.

  13. Reply
    Carmelina
    22.09.2016 at 20:54

    Hello does the antique weekend happen every month on the first Sunday and previous Saturday without fail. I was wondering if there is a period it does not take place.
    Thanks carmelina

  14. Reply
    Caterina
    02.10.2016 at 18:09

    Pretty much regularly

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