Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Weekly Markets in Tuscany
Almost every town in Tuscany and Umbria has a weekly market. These are usually held in the morning. You can get a list of the weekly markets for an area at the local tourist office. Also ask at your hotel or vacation rental for the day of the market where you are staying.
Markets in small town Italy are a strange sight. A dozen or more trucks pull up in a field or large parking lot or piazza and create the market. The vendors set up whole shops in front of their trucks. It is very well organized, with a few rows of "shops" that you can walk along. There will be several food vendors: vegetables, cheese, and the usual truck with a whole cooked pig on display where you get porchetta sandwiches. There will shops selling hardware supplies, shoes, clothes, cooking supplies, drugstore things, etc. It is like a Wal-Mart on wheels. Lots of inexpensive merchandise.
Weekly market in them main piazza of Cetona
These markets are usually crowded with local townspeople. This is where much of the local shopping is done.
I am not a big fan of these markets. There is a lot of junk; cheap shoes, cheap clothes, piles of women's underwear. You will find just as nice food things in the local fruit and vegetable shops. In the larger towns and cities, the markets are more interesting, but in the small towns of Tuscany and Umbria, they all seem the same. In southern Tuscany, the Montepulciano market is probably the best one. Sometimes you will find local farmers selling things, like porcini mushrooms in season, but usually the market feels more like a supermarket (on wheels). Still, it is a good experience, a chance to people watch and pick up some inexpensive seconds on kitchen towels.
Some towns have monthly antique markets. We have never been to one of these, but people tell me that they love them. The streets are lined with people selling all kinds of antiques at good prices. Lucca and Arezzo have big Antique markets (Lucca, 3rd Saturday and Sunday of the month; Arezzo, 1st Sunday of the month).
www.tuscany.net/tourist/tour3.htm: Tuscany Net, lists of weekly markets for Tuscany
www.slowtrav.com/italy/resources: Slow Travel Italy, links to regional tourist offices
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