Italian antiques are known the world around for their refinement and classic beauty.
And yet the ironic thing is...most Italians don't appreciate them!
Chalk it up to people inheriting their nonna's china set on top of their bisnonna's glassware, as well as their parents' houses, and I guess it can add up to be a lot of stuff to hold onto!
Fortunately for you, there are plenty of places to snatch up Italian antiques for a song.
I haven't located any big antique markets here in Calabria yet, though occasionally there will be a table or two at the Soverato market with old lanterns, crumbling books, and religious icons.
I do love buying antique sheets at the market. You can often find handcrafted doilies or sheet sets hand embroidered that are still in great condition and cheaper than store-bought sheets!
I went to a fabulous antique market in Lucca a few years ago. I loved browsing through old magazines (I've since framed a few finds), mannequin heads, and rugs.
The key to getting good deals at the market is to haggle. These people tote their "junk" around from market to market, and they want to unload it on you. But they'll start the pricing high, fully expecting you to barter (and it definitely helps to speak Italian!)
It's also been hard for me to find thrift stores in Calabria, at least not to the extent we find them in the U.S.
There is a great one called Portobello in Catanzaro. It's full of glassware, furniture, rugs, even kitchens. And the best part is: anything that's been in the store for more than 60 days is half price!
I got this crystal-cut decanter for €9, and paid the same for a set of four glasses! like this one!
I plan to return to shop the art section. Maybe I'll find something worthy of my wall, but if not, it's a cheap way to get an antique wooden frame I can put other art in.
As they say: one man's trash is another man's treasure. While Italians forsake old light fixtures and wine glasses for something new, treasure hunters like us can revel in bringing Italian antiques back to light!