Set in the beautiful historical centre of Arezzo, where Roman ruins, Renaissance architecture, and medieval walls, not to mention the frescoes of Piero della Francesco have always been a reason for art lovers to visit. A magnificent Antiques Market, (Fiera Antiquanta), takes place throughout the upper area of the city from the Basilica de San Francesco, going past the Duomo on the top of the steep hill. The main stage for this wonderous event is the Piazza Grande surrounded by the Palazzo del Commune and the Palazza del Popolo. A most befitting setting for one of the biggest and oldest antique fairs in Italy.
The Arezzo Antiques market was founded in 1968, by the famous antiquarian and art collector, Ivan Bruschi. What started out with a modest collection of 15 stalls has turned into a collector’s paradise with over 500 exhibitors attracting over 20,000 visitors each month. This famous market only takes place over the weekend of every first Sunday in the month and the Saturday before, it is one of the most successful and oldest in the history of antique markets
The best way to access the historical centre of Arezzo, which is set on a steep hill rising from the river Arno, is via the new escalator that connects the free car park in Via Pietri with the Duomo. Here, at the highest part of the city centre you will find the first of many tables laden high with antique collectables, leading you to the heart of the market, the Piazza Grande. If you happen to be coming by train, then from the station, just follow the crowd. The best time to arrive is around 9am when you have a chance of grabbing that most prized collectable and the best time for a bargain is around 3pm when the fair is coming to an end and dealers will start to negotiate for that final deal.
Hundreds of tables under umbrellas are set up in the huge Piazza Grande nestled against the famous Logge del Vasari and the 12th century Pieve di Santa Maria, they fill the square. The canvas umbrellas shielding the market stalls of fine furniture and antiques from the sun spill out into the neighbouring side streets. There is no order in the displays of objects, there are treasures from all periods in all manner and styles, which only adds to the pleasure of discovery as you wander amongst the collectables of paintings, jewellery, silverware, sculptures, furniture and anything else you are likely to find from a vintage market to an antique fair. It is the perfect destination for researchers, restorers, and collectors alike, and a paradise for antique bargain hunters, with specialised pieces and finds such as old books, Art Deco objects, 13th century glass and specific period furniture.
If you ever find yourself in Arezzo during this time, try to sneak a peak the evening before the actual market starts, when deals can be done as the antiques are being unpacked for display. This said, on a spectator level, the experience of the bustle, colour, sights and sounds of the first Sunday of every month in Arezzo, is definitely one not to be missed.