My relationships with my vendors at this amazing antique market grew along side my business grew and they have always remained my firsts; my nearest and dearest. And the best part at this lively antique market they keep the good stuff concealed until they see me pass with that rosary-thirsty religious-medal, funky vintage garment glow in my eyes!
Vendors usually have the same stall and rarely change so it makes for a divide-and-conquer type market attack (for me at least). Once my favorite broach and costume jewelry vendor Giovanna moved bins but she came running for me, to make sure I didn’t miss a thing!

View from the boxes reserved for the VIPs.

Giovanna was very worried about taking a good picture, but I captured her sweet smile on the fly!

Came, saw and conquered. Now off to my Tuscan buddies who hoard relics, medals and anything they just think I have to see for me!

These gentlemen with a heavy, super friendly Tuscan accents have a plethora of ancient things. I particularly gravitate to their religious objects that even date back to the 800s. A lot of vendors abuse the 800s. I don’t know why but this is the ancient date of choice. It is so common that it has become a running joke among us pickers at Storie in Italy. I even called a vendor out on clearly lying about a piece and we just laughed it off and he gave me a super deal to smooth things over. Anyways fibbers aside, Franco and Carlo are honest, cool guys loaded with one-of-a-kind goods. They know I love funky things and are always trying to find me something I have never seen. Grazie ragazzi!

Not only are my favorite duo from Tuscany, but there are from Livorno, my Nonna’s hometown! For this reason I always find medals and other relics of the Madonna of Montenero who was always littered among my grandmother’s things. Keep in touch for an upcoming article on the Sanctuary of the Madonna of Montenero, it is amazing, and you too will become a believer in her powers!

Love these gorgeous prayer books.

And the pile begins for my Storie In Italy creations! I even taught Franco and Carlo something this trip, these groups of medals tied together with a piece of twine are small kits to make rosaries dedicated to the Madonna of Sorrows. These rosaries have 7 medals that depict the 7 most difficult moments of the Virgin Mary’s life leading up to her son Jesus’ death from the prophecy of his crucifixion to his burial. The medal that  hangs in the center of this rosary is the Virgin Mary of the 7 Sorrows who is depicted with 7 daggers in her heart. This depiction if the Virgin Mary is found commonly throughout Italy.

This beautiful and delicate relic was something I passed over last moth, but scooped it up sitting in the corner of a case hiding under other gorgeous things. I almost got it home, but Carlo was saving it for another dedicated hunter. He would have loved to give it to me he said but gave me the look ‘you know the code’. Men of their thrifting word and they would have done the same for me.

These ladies are tough loves. She once did not want to sell me men’s jeans because I was a girl, she did not understand. In a backwards way I appreciated the concern. Their stern faces are not welcoming either, but I’m never discouraged because they always have things can’t live without. When I was paying for a whimsical macrame top and a perfectly worn out pair of Levis 501 jeans I mentioned that a white dress that I got from her last month came clean like a brand new white sheet, she lit up, well in her own way, she nodded and said I told you it would clean up perfectly. I am pretty sure we are best friends now.

Behind the piled high used clothing there is another decisively sweeter woman selling solo. She has great accessories,  and when she saw me this week she looked at me sadly and said “you came too late, all the good stuff is gone”. So if you want to stumble across Yves Saint Laurent like I did last month I have to hit this stall first.

Oh. My. God. Literally. When my eyes met this vendor my wires crossed. I almost lost it.  It was full of kitsch statues of the Virgin Mary in her many interpretations, saints and martyrs. I started thinking of anyone I could get something for and started grabbing! It was a symphony of me piling and the vendor yelling “One of a kind, everything goes, deals, this will never happen again”! The epitome of a dangerous market high that could send you home with eighteen hundred religious objects that you can’t store, give away or sell fast enough.

Once I established a spot to pile my picks behind the tables this enthusiastic vendor told me that he had just cleaned out a factory in Lucca, Tuscany that produced religious objects that had been closed- up for 20 years. I explained to him what I do with these wonderful things and more so these wonderful stories, we could not stop smiling ear-to-ear. As I was leaving he yelled out “take another statue, you are just too ‘simpatica’ not too!”

Another Tuscan hook up, when asked to pose with the goods this happened.

The real deals are the stuff that is on the ground or in boxes. The harder it is to find and the dirtier it is the better the deal.

I love on seeing the old furniture and even great tools. Even though the latter are rather useless, they have an ascetic that I would love to surround myself with. This mint green sulfur duster almost says my last name PAGNELLA!

Nicest guy ever. The big friendly giant really. He has cool art and chandeliers, will help you find what you are looking for and his wife is English. Such a great pair hustling their even greater antiques.

These ladies are always so sweet an have extremely unique garments. and she just loves thinking of young ladies like myself wearing her things instead of the elderly ladies who try and wheel and deal her.

This great corner stall has furniture of every patina, I spotted a great rosary grabbed it, but I really wanted the unicorns.

Ever wonder what a Genoese accent sounds like? Just barter with this guy a bit and you will hear it! Such a tough sell, but fun, he never wants to undersell. His cadence is fitting with his tactic since Genoese are known for really holding tight to their money. I have always found his prices right since he offers hand selected high quality products that he personally goes into homes to pick. I “splurged” on a great set of green goblets to christen my new kitchen this year – they were never used.

Such a beautiful breezy day.

An antique market first! These vendors picked up some instruments that they were selling and started jamming! Pinch, yes, this really happened.

Can’t pass up an antique mirror selfie to commemorate a market well done!