January 13, 2010 / Events
Piazzola sul Brenta, Veneto
mercatinovillacontarini2Markets are ubiquitous in Italy. Every town has several, and even the tiniest village boasts at least one. They offer a unique chance investigate the local culture and stock up on clothes, hardware, food, flowers and much more.
Antique and flea markets fall into a separate category, however. They are called mercatini (little markets) and you can find them in every region any month of the year.

mercatinovillacontarini3All kinds of treasures can be found, with a little patience, from the kitsch to the sublime. There are large things (furniture, architectural salvage, statuary, stone fireplaces etc.) or smaller items (dishes, glassware, old coins, jewelry, prints and paintings, antique toys). It’s fun and everyone goes: Italians love a bargain. And bargain you must- it’s part of the fun! There are food stands as well, if you are too involved to go home for lunch, and the food is delicious.

This particular market is enormous and occupies on the grounds of a Palladian villa, near Venice. It meanders under the stately porticos and spills over into a huge covered outbuilding. The Villa Contarini, now public property, was built by an aristocratic Venetian family in 1546. They would be spinning in their graves if they could see the “junk” for sale and all those plebeians munching sausages in their front garden…


Patricia Glee Smith

by Patricia Glee Smith

Accomplished artist and very involved archaeology aficionado based in Otricoli, Umbria. Click here to view her artwork.

6 Responses to “Mercatini”

  1. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    I just love markets. This one looks wonderful – a very big ‘little market’! Thanks for the lively note.

  2. Joyce Stratton

    We will be traveling to Venice in February. Is this market held in February, during the winter??


  3. Lovely note! I loved the markets while I was living in Rome and especially a wonderful mercatini I ran into in Siena. Thank you!

  4. I love visiting outdoor markets also, especially when they have items unique to the country/region. When does this one occur?

  5. Roma’s Porta Portese offered bargains that I’ve treasured for a lifetime. An old Roman lantern, electrified, hangs on my front porch in Georgia. Bargaining is part of the fun of going to mercantini.


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