Today I thought I'd take you on an Italian day-trip...won't you join me? One of the side trips we'll be taking on the EAT.PRAY.MOVE Yoga Retreats in June and July this year in Italy is to the lovely Tuscany town of Arezzo. This once Etruscan city is home to the famous Fiera Antiquaria (antique fair) which is spread up and down all the streets, alleys, and squares of the city center.




There are over 500 antique vendors with everything from jewelry, books, oil paintings, original edition comic books, tapestries, linens, furniture, frames, tin toys, carved wooden doors, stamps, postcards and almost anything you could think to collect.



A few years ago, while my husband and I were living in Florence, we visited Arezzo with the lovely Julian and Amanda (owners of the villa where the yoga retreat will take place). It was a beautiful spring Sunday, and such a great way to experience this Tuscan town.


We meandered up the street past many frames of silver, pine, and iron leaning against the stone walls and tables of bric-a-brac being picked through by tourists and Italians from all regions. As soon as we got to the first intersection, I looked to the right and left down the crossway and each strada (street) was just as full of antique vendors as was the current one on which we stood. 


We quickly came upon a small piazza with the Basilica di San Francesco, which we were able to step in for a little bit to see the Legends of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca. Since it was Sunday mass, we had to view it from afar...luckily Julian (owner of the villa where the retreat will be held, and who will be also leading this day-trip) teaches art history and was able to explain much of this massive fresco to us from the prints in the back of the church. As soon as we exited the silent hall, the hum of shoppers filled the air once again and we continued the trek through town. 


Soon we were at the Vasari Loggia, a hall of old shops with a covered sidewalk and archways leading to Piazza Grande, the culmination of the fair. Here is where Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, writes about buying things for her villa in Cortona. I searched through some stalls of bed linens and found a couple white embroidered pillow cases. Notice, I didn't say a "pair" of cases, as the two I chose don't match...but it's nice to find mismatched linens with different stories behind them (not that I know the stories, but at least I can imagine two stories now instead of one).


After a small lunch at a cafe under the shade of the Loggia, we inspected several more streets and even found the cathedral, near where a scene of La Vita e' Bella (Life is Beautiful) was filmed. This town was the main backdrop of the first part of this internationally famous movie, and there are even plaques around the city at certain sites, marking scenes from the film. 

Arezzo is a beautiful town with or without happening upon it on the market day. If you're in Tuscany I highly recommend a visit...or you can always join us in June ! 

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