The Arezzo antiques fair always calls my name

(October 3, 2015) The first Sunday (and the preceding Saturday) of each month, the largest antiques fair in Italy is held in Arezzo, a 90-minute train ride away. I plan my trips to include the fair, usually twice, and can be found on the Saturday of the sale at the Spello train station at 9, catching the train to go see what I can find.

Large pieces of furniture are displayed in the prinicpal piazza

Large pieces of furniture are displayed in the prinicpal piazza

This is an extension ladder, I think

This is an extension ladder, I think

These old keys are collectible, but I use two just like these for my doors

These old keys are collectible, but I use two just like these for my doors

Some of the larger pieces of furniture in my home were purchased at Arezzo, and later delivered to me in Spello. I have purchased art, wooden carvings, a small carved wooden box, and a metal jewelry “safe” that is too easy to carry away to place anything of value inside. Now that my home is furnished, and I have no more room for some of the wonderful things that I see, I go to explore, to talk to vendors about the history of what they are selling, and occasionally to bring back small things. Even if I come home empty-handed, I try never to miss this fun event, covering the main piazzas in the “centro storico” (central historic district) and most of the streets connecting them—nearly 500 vendors on a good day.

I'm always interested in old cameras

I’m always interested in old cameras

Venetian glass, hand-blown and decorated with gold

Venetian glass, hand-blown and decorated with gold

Old wooden wagon, with wooden wheels

Old wooden wagon, with wooden wheels

The Duomo, the principal church of Arezzo at the top of the hill

The Duomo, the principal church of Arezzo at the top of the hill

Child's carriage pulled by a goat

Child’s carriage pulled by a goat

I don’t really go looking for anything in particular any more, but I just enjoy looking at the offerings, taking a few photographs, and sometimes I find small things that I bring back, or plan to take home later. I enjoy a leisurely lunch in one of the principal piazzas, take my time, and plan to meet the return trains to Spello (running every two hours). I made quite a reputation for myself in Spello, carrying a bench once, and once a headboard, onto the train home and then all the way up the hill through town–and I am still being asked it that was me (yes, it was!).

The autumn display outside a restaurant on the main piazza--pumpkin, squashes, persimmons and pomegranates

The autumn display outside a restaurant on the main piazza–pumpkin, squashes, persimmons, walnuts, red chilis and pomegranates

This lady is always outside one restaurant, making pasta by hand to attract customers

This lady is always outside one restaurant, making pasta by hand to attract customers

A big bowl of huge fresh porcini mushrooms, in season

A big bowl of huge fresh porcini mushrooms, in season

My view of the piazza from my little lunch spot as I ate

My view of the piazza from my little lunch spot as I ate

One of the landmark churches of Arezzo, on the main piazza

One of the landmark churches of Arezzo, on the main piazza

This trip, I came back with only small things, including lasts for tiny shoes for a child, a pencil drawing of a curly dog, a painting on wood of an angel, and a collection of typographer’s letters, all large, to hang on my kitchen wall among the other things I have hanging, to fill in spaces.

Size 24 shoe lasts--very small children's shoes

Size 24 shoe lasts–very small children’s shoes

Printing press letters, the largest I could find

Printing press letters, the largest I could find

Charcoal drawings, studies of one man

Charcoal drawings, studies of one man

Angel painted on a wooden plaque

Angel painted on a wooden plaque

Pencil drawing (framed) of a curly dog

Pencil drawing (framed) of a curly dog

Now, it costs me more to travel to Arezzo than what I end up spending there, but I’m looking for inexpensive art for walls, and really looking for history and the story of any antiques whose vendors have time to talk to me. We Americans consider things over 100 years old antiques, and I am seeing carvings and statues and paintings at Arezzo that were from many centuries ago, even before Columbus sailed toward the New World. It’s an education, and a trip to a “museum” where I can touch, and sometimes own, small pieces of history.

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