Monday, January 2, 2012

Arezzo Antique Market

We are back in our apartment in Citta Della Pieve in Italy and our (delightful) job ahead is to fit this place out with furniture and fittings that will turn it from a gorgeous ancient apartment, into a gorgeous ancient & comfortable home. Over the past 3months since we purchased it, I have done all this work in my mind - so now we just have to find the suitable pieces, at a price we are prepared to pay, to finish the job! Obviously this is much easier said than done, as at home in Australia I know all the suppliers and craftspeople to find the perfect pieces, but here in Italy I will have to discover and uncover. This will take time as I am not one to settle for something if it is not exactly what I am looking for - I would prefer to have nothing rather than something simply to fill a void! 

So it is lucky that as an Interior Designer I have often said to clients, that I believe the best results in a home evolve over time - it is definitely not an instant look, for to have personality, soul, and to say something about the people who live in the space, one has to discover and uncover the pieces that mean something to you. It will take every bit of the 4 months we are here this time to find exactly the right pieces, and exactly the right craftspeople to do some small renovations, in order to coincide my metal picture with the physical one!

So .... our first place of discovery was the Arezzo Antique Market which is on the first Sunday of the month and the preceding Saturday. (NOT the first weekend of the month as some people will tell you, and this weekend, with Sunday 1st January, and Saturday 31st December is an example of what they mean by this). Arezzo is a delightful town, very atmospheric with some lovely restaurants and a beautiful main Piazza where many scenes from the Italian movie "La vita é bella" (Life is Beautiful) were shot. We have been to this antique market previously and the whole town is buzzing on this weekend - it feels like a festival really. There are hundreds of stalls selling all matter of things to interest a huge range of people. It is worth visiting even if you intend to purchase nothing, for the atmosphere is alive and typical of Italian life.

Like all markets, the thrill is in the discovery!

My approach to market shopping is to have enough time to wander the whole place, and return late in the day to the items that captured my interest. This way I feel I make considered choices and if the item has already sold, then I believe it was not supposed to be mine! A fatalistic view I know, but one that works for me. So on Saturday after several hours wandering, and a very satisfying stop at our favourite Arezzo restaurant 'Antica Osteria l'Agania', serving typical Tuscan cuisine - which is incredibly flavoursome and very simple ..... we made our first purchase.
This chandelier is our first market purchase for our Italian home
The look I am wanting to achieve in this ancient Italian apartment is one of mismatched pieces that have had many a previous life - that Italian "I've belonged to this family for generations" look. It is achieved with imperfect antique furniture pieces, worn gilt pieces, marble and aged timber. It will need to be layered with rugs, paintings and nothing can be too perfect but all in their own way will be individually beautiful. But having said that, it needs to be done on a tight budget so we will need to compromise to ensure our budget and the desired look are both achieved. Our first purchase, this chandelier, looks beautiful, will be stunning in our little entry, but is glass not crystal so instead of costing thousands of Euro, we purchased it for 180 Euro - a fair compromise I feel. 

So that was Saturday. We had also seen a few other furniture pieces that had potential to fit our look and budget, but rather than purchase them immediately, I took photos and measurements and we returned home to consider them overnight. Thus a further visit on Sunday saw us purchase a gorgeous large old walnut robe for the main bedroom. Currently we are living out of suitcases as there is no robe, so this will be a welcomed addition when it is delivered to us.

With a few further pieces still being contemplated, we are delighted with our first weekend's work. These 2 items are exactly what I had in mind to achieve our "I've belonged in this apartment for ever" look. Now I just have to find an electrician to install the light, and wait for the robe to be delivered....