Antiques Market in Milan – Il Naviglio Grande

Last Sunday of the month; Milan’s Sunday Antique Market – Mercatone dell’Antiquariato

Calendar 2017

  • Sunday 29 Jan – Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 26 Feb – Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 26 Mar   –  Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 2 Apr  –   Fiori e Sapori sul Naviglio Grande (Flowers)
  • Sunday 30 Apr –   Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 7 May –  Arte sul Naviglio (Art)
  • Sunday 28 May –  Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 25Jun – Mercatone dell’Antiquariato   (Antiques)
  • Sunday 30 Jul –    Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 27 Aug –  Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 24 Sep – Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 1 Oct  – Fiori e Sapori sul Naviglio Grande (Flowers)
  • Sunday 29 Oct – Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 26 Nov – Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)
  • Sunday 17 Dec – Mercatone dell’Antiquariato (Antiques)

 

*dates to be confirmed, check site for details

Julia Chiarella-Genoni takes us through the antique market of the Naviglio Grande which takes place every last Sunday of the month.

If you are looking for a leisurely walk along a nice scenic area, you don’t have to leave the city to find it. In fact, you may even find a couple of things to snatch up and take home with you. ‘Il Naviglio Grande’ is a beautiful area in Milan near Porta Genova that is frequented by artists, young shoppers and romantics.

Years ago, it was known as the “Artists Center” because everyone who wanted to paint a memorable section of Milan wanted to capture the canal and the old apartment buildings. It is still used as an open air studio for many artists. Fashion designers have recently opened their boutiques and studios along the canal. An area also known for its many restaurants, the canal can prove to be a whole day experience.

A very charming area on any day, take a walk along the canal, grab an ice cream at an old fashion gelateria, and shop around for some clothes, or pieces of art. At the very tip of the canal you can also find a fish market, a flower market, and a fruit market all at the same corner. It makes for a perfect stop to pick up ingredients for a fresh weekend dinner.
If you can swing it, a must see is when ‘Il Naviglio’ has its open air antique market at the end of every month. The last Sunday of each month except for July and August, the canal turns into one massive shopping area. It’s called the “Mercatone dell’Antiquariato” and is packed with antiques, great finds, and loads (loads!) of people.

As a tenant of the area, I have experienced this event first hand, from the very early morning of set up time, to the very late afternoon of packing it all in. Here is my account of a fascinating Sunday:

The morning begins on these special Sundays with the sound of trucks and antique dealers. They literally set up shop right in front of our building. For some, it may be a real hassle; not being able to get the car out (or having to wake up before they arrive to get out with the car), but to my husband and I, it’s an entertaining way to end each month here in Italy. I’ve been to some antique fairs, but they were never at our front door, and they were never along a scenic canal, and they were never filled with Italian antiques. This Naviglio tradition is a real pleasant experience and we like to enjoy it from start to finish.
With a quick look outside our window, we decide when is a good time to go for our walk, factoring in the size of the crowd. It starts to get very packed in the afternoon, so we tend to make our way out early. After a lazy morning breakfast, we’re off to check the latest treasures brought to the street.It seems that everyone wants to see what they can discover in the piles. As the saying goes, ‘one man’s garbage is another man’s treasure’. This is very apparent at the street market. Of course, something like a piece of furniture that may look unsalvageable can always be turned into a completely new and unique piece for, a bar, let’s say? From old fashion to contemporary pieces, furniture to faux jewellery, everything can be found, it all depends what table you land on. There are many real antiques, such as old armoires and tables. These can range drastically in price; some are expensive for good reason, while others are outrageous. With this in mind, we keep a watchful eye out for pieces that are expensive. Although we ourselves have not gone away with large pieces as souvenirs of the street market, many do. As the street is blocked off to cars, the challenge is taking the pieces away.Whatever the day brings as far as finds on the street, one thing is for sure, we always grab a bite to eat. On the Sundays of the street market, all the restaurants and stores are open. It’s perfect for those locals that may have forgotten to pick up some bread or milk on their way home the day before. Depending on the mood, there are two ways of enjoying lunch. A sit down lunch is always nice if the weather’s right, where the restaurants place their tables and chairs right in front. While you eat, you can enjoy the passers-by and still catch glimpses of the table treasures in front of you. Another alternative is to jump in and out of a local focaccia shop and get a warmed up slice to go. This is nice if you want to keep walking leisurely instead of slowing down to a halt. An absolute must to end whatever lunch we have is to pass by a gelateria and get a cone of ice cream.When the afternoon is nearly over, and the dealers start to pack up for the night, and the pedestrians start going to other destinations, we take another peak outside our window. And with smiles of content, we acknowledge that this is where we are and this is what we can do at the end of each month here in Italy.

Links:

» Official website of Navilgio Grande

» Other markets in Milan

» Links for Italian art and antique collectors

 

Article & Photos: Julia Chiarella-Genoni

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