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Arezzo Flea Market Tips

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 60px; line-height: 50px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Mamma Mia, I rarely blog while I’m in the midst of doing a tour, preferring usually to wait til I’m home afterwards.  But we’ve got a white-label tour in Italy with Red Shed Tours this week where we’re acting as step-on guides for another tour company who specialize in group travel, and yesterday we were in Arezzo. Arezzo inspires me and has me spinning around in circles…. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL.

In fact if you’ve seen the movie Life is Beautiful, you’ve already got the town of Arezzo in mind. It was filmed here. This ancient Tuscan city with its Roman ruins, medieval walls and Renaissance architecture has always been a magnet for art lovers and it’s home to many famous artists. In fact have you heard of the Vasari passage in Florence? Well you can visit its designer’s home in Arezzo! Giorgio Vasari, who conferred with the Medici family in Florence, designed the famed but exclusive corridor that runs through the Medici’s original residence at the Uffizi, now the renowned picture gallery to their new residence at the Palazzo Pitti. It was built just above the Ponte Vecchio bridge which at the same time was filled with Butcher’s shops so they could walk above the rif raf of the city and avoid any unpleasantries. Also in Arezzo you can visit Piero della Francesce’s magnificent frescos at the Basilica of San Francisco.

Normally Arezzo is a quiet and tranquil city…. Except for the first weekend of the month when tours/italy” target=”_blank”>The Antiques Diva & Co storms into town all a gaggle!!!  500 vendors take over the Piazza Grande, sprawling into the surrounding streets and alleys from north to south, east to west. A quirky cast of characters set up shop and fill your ear with elaborate stories about their treasures.

Arezzo really is an Aladdin’s cave where you can find antique and vintage furniture, fine and costume jewelry, wonderful paintings at a steal, religious artifacts, crockery, glass, kitchen and cooking items, silver, ceramics and books. In short at the Arezzo Flea Market you can find anything and everything from the serious antiques to fun collectibles. It’s practically impossible to go home empty handed.

In Italian, though, when it comes to bargaining you need to remember the Italian method is not aggressive… it’s more sympathetic in tone. As it is in most things in Italy it’s based upon a rapport, so patience is needed. First you ask the price. Then you pause to think. If you feel the price is fair – you pay it. No bargaining for sport. Then if you really do want it, ask for a better price, and if you’re buying more than 1 item you’ll increase your odds of getting a discount. Vendors will always give you a receipt at the Tuscan flea markets as there are controls in place by the government to ensure they do. Because the items are classified as “used” there will be nothing to claim back at the Tax Refund office when leaving Italy as used items in Italy are VAT exempt.

Cash is king in the flea market scene… but some vendors will take credit cards. These are minority and cash will always get you the best price. All over Arezzo on the main roads you’ll find ATM’s dotting the side of the street so getting money from the machines wont be a problem. But come prepared. Did you know in Italy there is a legal limit to how much you can withdraw per day? The maximum limit in Italy to withdrawal from your bank (regardless what your bank tells you your daily limit is) is 250 Euro – so you’ll want to plan ahead to make sure you have the cash needed to shop the Arezzo Flea Market.

Arezzo 2015 Dates:

January 3-4, 2015

January 31 – February 1, 2015

February 28 – March 1, 2015

April 4-5, 2015

May 2-3, 2015

June 6-7, 2015

July 4-5, 2015

August 1-2, 2015

September 5-6, 2015

October 3-4, 2015

October 31 – November 1, 2015

December 5-6, 2015

 

Happy shopping!

Ciao Bella,
The Antiques Diva®

Steal of the day

Antiques Diva Tuscan Tour

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 80px; line-height: 70px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>While shopping yesterday in the Oltrarno in Florence with an interior designer client on an Antiques Diva tours/italy/”>Italy Tour we found the “steal of the day” – an old safe. My client and I loved the industrial appeal of the piece however pondered how to use it when suddenly all 4 of us – my 2 clients as well as my locally based guide and I -exclaimed in unison “I’ve got it!” The client has a comprehensive list of things we are looking for and the safe suddenly was crying out to be a repurposed cocktail bar cabinet for the Tuscan villa we were furnishing!

I love nothing more than encouraging clients to think outside the box, er… safe in this instance, stretching the imagination to see how far they can take an object from its original use. A cocktail cabinet in general – even when not housed in such a fascinating piece – is in the words of tocked-bar-ide-119581″>Apartment Therapy “an entertaining investment, a place of intrigue or conversation and a place to get the party started.”

Today we are heading to the flea market in Arezzo to buy accessories and decorative pieces for the project and we will look for some great vintage glasses, a cocktail shaker and some decanters to add to the piece! When creating a cocktail bar you don’t have to have a plethora of choices – rather put the ingredients on hand for a few signature drinks. In the drawers of this piece we could pick up some linen cocktail napkins from the mill at Busatti and perhaps have them embroidered with the name of the client’s house or their initials.

Here’s a peek at some other interesting cocktail cabinets courtesy of tocked-bar-ide-119581″ target=”_blank”>Apartment Therapy!

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

Apartment Therapy

 Et voila, shake and serve!
The Antiques Diva®

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The Arezzo Flea Market

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 100px; line-height: 90px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>The ancient Tuscan city of Arezzo with its Roman ruins, medieval walls and renaissance architecture was home to many famed architects and artists alike – Piero della Francesca, whose murals adorn many of Italy’s great churches and Giorgio Vasari, creator of the Medici corridor that runs across the Arno – to name just two of Arezzo’s famous artisans.    Arezzo has always been a magnet for art lovers.  Susan P, my Antiques Diva & Co colleague in Italy offering Antique Shopping Tuscan Tours explains, “It’s no less so today – when the first weekend of the month the town centre is transformed into one huge flea market with over 500 vendors.

Antiques Diva Tuscan Tour Guide Susan P shopping in Arezzo

Susan advises Italian Flea Market pilgrims to browse the stalls climbing up to Piazza Grande and San Francesco at your leisure, taking time to chat with the vendors, lingering over their Italian accents.  “You’ll enjoy the cast of characters hawking their wares,” she explains with a twinkle in her eye.  The vendors love to share stories of their treasures – some of which are even true!” she adds, noting “Some stories the vendors tell have to be taken with a pinch of salt.”  But what salt it is… regardless of pedigree, the treasures in Arezzo abound – whether vintage pieces from mysterious scientific instruments to antique toys and furniture, fascinating paintings and religious relics to second-hand crockery, glass, kitchen and cooking items.  The market is filled with all varieties of silver as well as a slew of vintage and antique ceramics and yellow-paged books perfect for decorating your shelves. In short, Italian Diva Guide Susan P promises, It’s impossible to go home empty handed!”

On my last trip to Arezzo, this Little Piggy came home with me!

“Oh the things you will see,” sighs Susan P, Tuscan Antique Shopping Tour Guide

“And that’s just the Flea Market in Arezzo,” she exclaims, “There is much more to discover once you venture off the main arteries from a gallery of small antique shops, to lampshade makers and great hardware stores.”

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BOOK A SPECIAL ANTIQUES DIVA PRIVATE SHOPPING TOUR IN AREZZO! 

Email to:info@antiquesdiva.com”>info@antiquesdiva.com for more information

Arezzo 2015 Dates:

January 3-4, 2015

January 31 – February 1, 2015

February 28 – March 1, 2015

April 4-5, 2015

May 2-3, 2015

June 6-7, 2015

July 4-5, 2015

August 1-2, 2015

September 5-6, 2015

October 3-4, 2015

October 31 – November 1, 2015

December 5-6, 2015

Ciao Bella,
The Antiques Diva®
(seen below, shopping in Tuscany)

Meet La Dolce Diva – Susan, our Diva Guide in Italy!

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 100px; line-height: 90px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>In today’s blog I want to introduce you to La Dolce Diva – Susan, our Diva Guide leading antique shopping tours in Tuscany! Susan is a dazzling Brit living in Tuscany and is a dream-come-true! She’s quite possibly the most affable person I’ve met, with an easy smile, a lifetime lived exploring antiques, a quirky nature and an eye for style! Susan describes herself as “British by birth, Welsh by choice, Mid-Atlantic by nature, and Italian by adoption”.

Meet Susan – La Dolce Diva! The Antiques Diva® Guide in Tuscany!

 

Susan tells about Growing up in Britain…

“For as long as I can remember, design and decoration have been a part of my life. As a small child I spent hours playing with the doll’s house that my father had made for us, staging the rooms, making and hanging curtains, stitching tiny cushions, adding bits and pieces… My dad was quite a craftsman; he made the tiny furniture and electrified the house with a huge battery. I loved Lego too; building houses, gardens, rooms. I was also an avid fan of ‘Pelham Puppets (very British!) and would pour over catalogues deciding what I would like, then save my pocket money. When I had enough I carefully filled out the form with my order and rushed down to the post office to buy the postal order and send it off. Those were agonizing days when I would wait eagerly for the postman to arrive. I recall one Christmas when we received a theatre – how excited we were, painting the cut out wooden scenes with my sister, then creating grand plays and shows for our family and friends. I continuously moved the furniture around in my bedroom. I recall when I was around 10 years of age my room was to be redecorated and I was allowed to choose the wall paper, though what I chose was not exactly what my mother had had in mind; a dark blue ground with green and white snowdrops… but I loved it. As I got older I would accompany my father to visit British country homes and gardens, he was a great historian and purveyor of fine things. Subconsciously the seeds had been sown and germination started.”

Susan tells about starting her career as a Buyer at Harrods in London

“I left Wales for the bright lights of London to pursue a career in retailing, where better place to start than the renown store of Harrods. For our final assignment we were asked which department interested us most – much to raised eyebrows I nominated the antiques department. There was a warm and friendly, small close-knit team, the buyer was delighted to have a little go-fer, and soon I was attending auctions, bidding and buying… upon his direction of course. I loved the auction room – the excitement and thrill of the sales. One summer I went to visit my sister in New York and couldn’t resist attending one there and not long after found myself as a permanent fixture in one of the British auction houses in the city, eventually becoming a specialist in 19th & 20th Furniture and Decorative Arts.”

 

Bright Lights… Big City! Susan tells about living in New York City & working in antiques

After six wonderful and formative years in the boom of the mid 80’s, working with dealers and collectors it was time to leave the hustle and bustle of New York City. Through a strange series of circumstances, I found myself in Tuscany. It was merely by chance and most certainly a random choice that I made, with six months to spare between jobs and ironically not quite knowing what to do. Back home in my native Britain I had picked up a very English magazine… not to be named of course, but well-known for its knitting patterns and traditional recipes, but perhaps above all, for being the place to look for short term jobs abroad, little box ads for nannies and au pairs. It was exactly one of these ads that caught my eye; it read… ‘come to Tuscany and work two hours a day’…. Hmmm, what an invitation, who could refuse?”

Susan tells how she moved to Tuscany nearly 20 years ago and became La Dolce Diva! 

“I found myself on a beautiful 3000-acre agricultural estate in the heart of Tuscany just outside of Siena and in love in more ways than one. I was fortunate enough to become part of an Italian family and over the last twenty years have had a hand in developing an ‘agriturismo’ business; a multifaceted task which amongst other things has involved the refurbishment and renovation of over a dozen buildings.”

Susan tells about Antique Shopping in Italy

“The most fun part of working on an estate in Italy was of course decorating the houses… the resources in Italy are fabulous, the natural elements such as terracotta, marble, stone, beautiful ceramic tiles, rich fabrics, tassels and ties and of course an excuse to indulge in my preferred past time. Shopping takes a little time and patience and a lot of talk and schmoozing… the Italians are famed for that and it’s an integral part of the culture that must be embraced. My tastes are eclectic, ranging from fine period antiques, silver and paintings to vintage clothing and re-purposed agricultural tools and equipment. I still love to frequent the auction houses too. Of course it’s even better and more fun in company and I’m more than happy to share my secrets!”

tours/italy/ ” target=”_blank”>Book an Antiques Diva Tour in Tuscany, Italy-Florence, Siena, Lucca, Arezzo and more…

 

The Antiques Diva®

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Antique Shopping Tours in Italy

Dear Diva Readers,
Extra, Extra Read All About It….  The Antiques Diva & Co is expanding and offering Antique Shopping Tours in Italy!!!! 

Flea Markets and Ferragamo await in Florence as do fragrant sessions with an haute-couture perfumer, creating custom scents just for you.  Wrap yourself in luxury Italian linens or linger in Lucca, enjoying the local wines and gourmet delicacies.  Stay in Sienna visiting antique sales or shop for salvaged pieces at secret sources.  Search the streets of Arezzo looking for religious relics and rustic pieces.  And while you’re at it, book a cooking course, a day at the outlets or visit our favorite vineyards with our Diva Excursions.  On Antiques Diva ® Italian Tours you’re guaranteed to enjoy La Dolce Diva as we share not just antiques but Italian lifestyle!

Inquire for details to:info@antiquesdiva.com”>info@antiquesdiva.com

Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we disclose some of our favorite Italian Sources, as you meet our Diva Guide Susan and as we share some of our favorite addresses under the Tuscan sun!

Ciao,

The Antiques Diva®

Book a Tour

The Antiques Diva & Co offers custom planned Antiques Buying Tours for tourists and trade professionals. Whether you’re looking to buy one specific piece or wanting to fill an entire container, our personal shopping antique buying guides share their vast knowledge of secret sources to take you to all the right places.

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