Porta Portese

Not the most impressive of the Roman flea markets, but nonetheless a real institution in Rome and a nice opportunity to experience another side of the Roman life.

Flea market enthusiasts who wish to see a different side of Rome, should head to this mammoth flea market located behind the Porta Portese in Trastevere. Hosting hundreds of stalls selling everything from rare books, vintage phones and chandeliers, to spare bike parts and DVDs, the Porta Portese flea market is crazily busy and a lot of fun. As a matter of facts, the Porta Portese mercatino sells everything you can possibly imagine.

This flea market does not have the most amazing antique section compared to other flea markets in Rome, particularly if you’ve been spoiled by the impressive selection and quality of the antiques sold Via dei Coronari. But if you’re lucky, you might find brash brass, noisy clocks, and old paintings capturing local imagery from times that have long gone by. However, there is something distinctly Italian about the whole experience you’ll get at the Porta Portese flea market. So even if you don’t find a hidden gem, you will always get something from your trip there.

One last point about the Porta Portese flea market, and not the least important: be prepared to haggle with the vendors! If you were impressed by the haggling in places like Spain or Morocco, the Italian’s put them both to shame. Try and engage with vendors by using some of the useful phrases below, and remember: hold your ground, because if you show sign of weakness you might miss out on the bargain that your heart is set on purchasing.

Antiquing Tip Of The Day

If you’re buying 19th-century furniture, you’re probably looking for pieces that have primary or secondary paint. With newly painted pieces that are trying to look older, there’s usually a repetition in the paint that seems too regular. On a piece that has been banged around for the last 200 years, the paint’s not going to be regular; it’s going to be chipped off in places.

— Toma Clark Haines, founder of the Antiques Diva & Co.
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