Sunday, July 21, 2013

Arezzo Antique Market - a fabulous way to spend the day!!

Arezzo's monthly antique market is definitely one of Italy's best Antique markets. Held on the weekend of the first Sunday of the month, it is a wonderfully eclectic mix of furniture, art, vintage textiles and bric a brac. One of our favourite activities is to wander it on a Saturday morning and over our many visits, we have developed a ritual for the day - we arrive early (more choice), have  a quick espresso or 2, before wandering all the streets ensuring we visit our favourite stalls, then around 1pm, stop for lunch at Osteria L'Agania, a simple trattoria with a changing seasonal menu of locally produced product. On this visit to Osteria L'Agania we ate home made pasta with generous quantities of fresh truffles shaved over the top, and the most delicious fresh porcini mushrooms we have ever tasted - prepared by simply frying them. We were told that this season of porcini mushrooms has been one of the best ever and my taste buds can certainly testify to this.  

This particular visit coincided with an art festival in the city which presented itself in delightfully obtuse and unexpected installations - one a huge cascading waterfall of books from the window of a building in the main mall, another a sea of old clothes strung high in the ceiling space of the colonnade around the main piazza. I love the fact that Italy allows young artists the opportunity to display their art in such a public forum - these pieces often push the boundaries of what many may consider art to be, but that is exactly the point - it continues the discussion about culture and engages a wider audience. Without doubt it injected a sense of fun, fascination and enquiry into the city of Arezzo - and in the end this creates public spaces with a wonderfully inclusive vibe.

Some market visits are more fruitful than others, but we always manage to find something that makes its way back to our home in Citta della Pieve. On July's visit we bought far more than we intended but are thrilled with our unexpected purchase! For the past 2yrs we always visit a stall holder in the main piazza who often stocks refurbished old carpenter's workbenches ready to begin a new life as a table or console. Although not really in need of a new kitchen table, this weekend, the price and the quality of the work bench he had totally captivated us, so early Sunday morning, it was delivered into our kitchen....and it looks spectacular!! We have had a piece of glass made for the top, to cover the recesses for the carpenter's tools to become a supremely gorgeous & practical kitchen table. The 2 original vices are still in place, and the cut out recesses for upturned tools and the solidity of the timber would all no doubt have many a story to tell. It is this table's history and previous working life that we totally love.

We also managed to find another 2 pieces of artwork for our ever growing gallery walls in both our bedroom and living room - all of €15 each, they are framed in elaborate gilt frames, and bought from one of our favourite stalls, (the main reason we always arrive early on a Saturday is to get first pick of this stall holders artworks as they are always interesting and well priced!) Individually, none of  the art pieces are especially grand, but en-masse they make a beautiful mosaic gallery wall.

Many of the pieces in our Citta della Pieve home have come from this excellent monthly antique market and a significant part of the fun was the hunt to discover and uncover.
Arezzo was hosting a art installation across the whole city, and the hanging clothes in the background of this photo are part of this
An Art installation in the portico of the main Piazza
Our new kitchen table! The history of this piece compliments our centuries old
apartment and we are thrilled with this purchase
Unfortunately I missed out on this antique marble font with pedestal (should have visited before lunch!),However  I intend to watch for another in the future as it would make a sensational powder room sink. The price was not much more than a ordinary white porcelain one.  Obviously though the trick is getting it back to Australia!
Timber doors from an old convent - € 300 for the pair they were really beautiful and I thought good
value with a wonderful story to tell
Our regular lunch venue - delicious seasonal food
Home made pasta with shaved fresh truffle - delicious!
Fried fresh Porcini mushrooms with Tuscan white beans - food doesn't get much better than this! 
Product changes regularly but there is always treasure waiting to be discovered
A wonderfully fun book sculpture - part of the art installations throughout the city of Arezzo
And here is the finished product in our kitchen at Citta della Pieve - we are thrilled with the results
Another shot of our new, but very old, kitchen table in situ