Antiquing in Parma at Italy’s Premier Antiques Fair
Fancy meeting up with a group of fabulous designers, delightful dealers, (antique dealers, of course), magazine creatives, gracious guides, and one Diva extraordinaire to #shopeatplay in Italy for five days. Well, that’s exactly what Laurent and I did last month during Mercanteinfiera, Italy’s largest antiques fair held in the historic and gastronomic city of Parma, Italy, famous for its Renaissance and Romanesque architecture and prosciutto, parmigiano cheese and Lambruscu.
Twice a year, Toma Clark Haines, the Antiques Diva, and her Diva Guides take a VIP group of mostly interior designers and antique dealers on a trip that can only be described as an “antiques lovefest” because not only did we fall in love with the beautiful Italian antiques we saw, but we also fell in love with the people and places of Italy as well as everyone in our group. (While The Antiques Diva & Co NORMALLY only does one on one customized antique buying tours, a few times a year they work with 3rd parties to put together special VIP Group Tours; Mercanteinfiera is one such occassion. We were lucky enough to be part of that group!) What we thought would be a “look see” turned into an outright buying trip filled with more food, fun and friends than we could have ever imagined!
buy directly off the trucks as dealers
were unloading and setting up
The nine-day shopping extravaganza, which attracted more than 50,000 purveyors of antiques and designer finds from around the world, opened to the public on February 25th, but as VIP guests of the AD&CO we were fortunate enough to have early access during the pre-trade and trade days. This allowed us the ability to buy directly off the trucks as dealers were unloading and setting up. It was a bit crazy with everyone heading in different directions, dodging doggies and dollies (the furniture moving kind), but it provided us first dibs on the crème de la crème of Italian antiques and wares of over 1000 dealers.
Dealers are set up in five different pavilions selling a mixture of styles and periods of antiques and vintage furniture, jewelry and fashions, lighting (lots of lighting), art and accessories. Because Toma was in full-on Diva mode and making history in London at the House of Lords with the first ever Facebook Live post at the Houses of Parliament while speaking at the 9th Annual LAPADA Conference, she wasn’t able to join us the first day. We were in very capable hands, though. Her amazing Diva Guides, Orseola Barozzi Rizzo and Chiara Zanella, took charge and managed to navigate our large group through the multitudes of shoppers. They made sure that we each found what we were looking for, whether it was an 18th century Baroque Italian painted cassapanca or the nearest ATM. They also made sure we could communicate properly. Everyone in our group was from the South, and we could all be heard asking “quanto costa?” in our best southern accents!
A Few Vendor Booths at Mercanteinfiera
Our Goal: A Large Monastery Table
Since Laurent and I had one goal in mind, to find a large monastery table, we were thrilled to find not one but two 18th century tables almost immediately – and decided we best take them before someone else did. One table was fourteen feet and the other was twelve feet – hard-to-find sizes, at reasonable prices and both in excellent condition. We had already arranged to have our “collector” there just in case, so we immediately called him and let him know we had made our first purchase of the day. He would be collecting any items we purchased and taking them to our warehouse in Nantes, France. When Laurent goes to France in April to make a container, he’ll add the pieces from Italy with what he buys in France to be shipped back to our shop in Birmingham, Alabama.
A few things you need to know about Laurent. He’s been importing antiques for 25 years and has his own sources and does his own containers, usually four to five a year. So he was really reluctant about buying anything during this trip. He thought everything would be way over priced, and many things were because it’s a very high-end trade show, but once we started shopping, we realized what a wonderful opportunity we had been given.
even established antique dealers, set in their ways,
can really benefit from one of AD&CO’s many tours
In the two days that we attended Mercanteinfiera, we were able to purchase some incredible Italian antiques and were also able to find sources and make contacts that we will use in the future. Without the AD&CO, none of this would have been possible! We can’t thank them enough! It just goes to show even established antique dealers, set in their ways, can really benefit from one of AD&CO’s many tours. We plan on taking another tour in either Belgium or Sweden as soon as we can. Time is precious. And the time saved having Diva Guides with us to make introductions, translate and negotiate when necessary, and take care of the small details (like reading a menu) made all the difference in the world. Our imaginations could not have dreamed up anything more perfect. The energy, creativity, ingenuity, experience and the professional and personal attentiveness shown to us by Toma and her Diva Guides made this buying trip a truly magical journey.
Dear Diva Readers,
U.S. Antique Shows and we just hit it off! If you’re not familiar with U.S. Antique Shows, you should be. That’s why I’m happy to announce that I will be collaborating with them on some special stateside events in the USA next year!ne of my favorite parts of my job is meeting interesting antique lovers from all over the world. Recently while taking clients on an Antiques Diva Tour at Mercanteinfiera in Italy I was fortunate enough to meet the team from
As the world’s largest producer of indoor antique shows, U.S. Antique Shows focus is on serving the unique needs of both customers and the entire antique community by featuring internationally recognized dealers and a wide range of antiques, antique jewelry and watches. With nine shows, collectively spanning 400,000 square feet, U.S. Antique Shows attracts more than 3,000 dealers from 22 different countries. No other show producer brings together experts in every category and discipline from all over the world. I love the fact that vetted dealers are able to expand their audiences while collectors and shoppers are able to buy with confidence and learn more about antiques. I can’t wait to share more about U.S. Antique Shows in the near future!
In the mean time, here are the dates for their Antiques Shows that are coming up— Mark your calendars!
2014-15 U.S. Antique Shows Dates:
Pier Antique Show
Nov. 22-23, 2014 & March 28-29, 2015
Miami National Antique Show
Jan. 24-26, 2015
Miami Airport Convention Center
The Original Miami Beach Antique Show
Jan. 30-Feb. 3, 2015
Miami Beach Convention Center
Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show
May 28-31, 2015
Paris las Vegas Hotel and Casino
New York Antique Jewelry & Watch Show
July 24-27, 2015
LA Antique Jewelry & Watch Show
August 14-16, 2015
Hyatt Regency Century City
Not only will I be attending the Pier Show this November 22-23 but The Antiques Diva & Co will be one of the sponsors of the show!!! Please join us there as we shop New York!!!!
The Antiques Diva®