If you are at all familiar with antique markets in Tuscany, you have certainly heard of the most famous monthly markets in Lucca, Arezzo, and Florence. We love those markets, but we also enjoy traveling off the beaten path to find markets in smaller towns. Getting off the beaten path can sometimes lead to finding rare and beautiful antique treasures, but it always leads to a fun new experience!
Antique Market in Pistoia
Second Sunday and the preceding Saturday every month
On our most recent trip to Tuscany, we visited the antique market in Pistoia for the first time. What a pleasant surprise! For starters, it is indoors. Remembering years ago shivering in my boots on a cold, wet January day at the Ciompi market in Florence, I am very enthusiastic about an indoor market. Plus, at the hall where the Pistoia antique market is held (a converted train factory warehouse), there is a coffee bar, nice bathrooms, and easy parking – how civilized!
The dealers offer a very eclectic mix of items – everything from old rustic farm tools to vintage Murano glass chandeliers. Among the treasures we found were a pair antique processional lanterns, collectible plates, antique mirrored sconces, architectural fragments, and a few old keys.
After scouring the market all morning, we headed into the center of town and found a traditional trattoria for a superb lunch, followed by a peaceful stroll around the main piazza. I can’t wait to return on our next buying trip!
Antique Market in San Miniato
First Sunday of the month, except July and August
San Miniato is certainly more famous for truffles than antiques, but we find their monthly antique market chock full of little treasures. Many of the dealers are local folks and not professional dealers, but that also means they have great prices! At this little market, we have found antique hand-wrought iron sconces, beautiful vintage rosaries, tiny giltwood bedside lamps, vintage calfskin leather boxes, and old hand-painted ceramics.
Even without the market, a visit to San Miniato is worthwhile. It is located halfway between Florence and Pisa. San Miniato is a picturesque medieval town set a top a hill overlooking the Arno River Valley. We climbed a tower to enjoy the beautiful views!
Abbadia San Salvatore Autumn Festival
Second and third weekends in October
Some markets are only once a year and coincide with local celebrations. One of our favorites is the Autumn Festival in Abbadia San Salvatore, near Monte Amiata. This region is famous for chestnuts and people come from all over for the annual festival and the freshly roasted chestnuts.
During the day, the streets are lined with vendors selling antiques and locally produced wares. We have found different types of items there compared to other parts of Tuscany. For example, walking sticks for mountaineering, old wooden wine barrel taps, hunting paraphernalia, vintage pocket knives – mantiques!
In the historical center, the locals open their basements where lunches are served family-style. You have to get there early to reserve a spot! The real fun gets started in the evening when the chestnuts are roasted in large drums over open fires. If you offer to help, they won’t turn you down – Massimo joined in for some heavy lifting!
Check out some of the market finds we have for sale in our Rare Finds section!