So it took me over a year of doing the blog, but I finally made it to Rome’s most notorious flea market, Porta Portese. You see, when I first moved here I had been living in London and was spoiled by the great markets there at Portabello and Camden. My first month in town I went with friends, eager to see what sort of amazing finds were to be had. We’re in Italy after all, it had to be overflowing with interesting antique items! You can imagine my disappointment when for most of the time we waded through stall after stall of plastic crap and stuff you can find pretty much selling at any of the street side bancarella. And thus ended my time with Porta Portese, I never returned.
Now that’s not to say that I didn’t then later learn the error of my ways. My problem was that when I went, we (being Rome novices) entered through the porta itself, onto the beginning of the via Portuense. What I realized too late was that the real action is to be had much further down the via Portuense, where you have all the furniture. This is really where you can find some interesting things, and today I was able to score two nice wooden picture frames for €30. There’s a wide array of goods, including a stand only selling crystal chandeliers, as well as extra crystal drops in case you’re missing one. The name of the game is haggling; I had a vendor go from a first offer of €350 for a couch to €150 in about 5 seconds while trying to sell to my friend. Of course, it’s all a game of risk, you can go one week and find nothing and the next week come up with magic. Just make sure you hold onto you purse…the crowd is thick and pickpockets are known to roam the area as shoppers are distracted looking for the best bargains.