Gabrielle Smarr Summer 2012 Temple Rome

Don’t worry, there’s no fleas.

If you’re looking for a good place to buy cheap Italian clothes, shoes, African masks, and other weird odds and ends there is a huge market called Porta Portese Flea Market that you need to check out. Different things have told us that it’s best to go on a Sunday, so we did. It was HUGE. So many clothing stands and jewelry, bags and shoes. A lot of it starts to look the same after awhile, but it’s a pretty cool market. We got there around 8 or 9 in the morning and it wasn’t too crowded. The calm before the storm. It was hot though. Like always. I’m writing this in Villa Borghese and my legs are sticking to the bench…like always. Today is especially a scorcher. Good thing those sweet fountains are around. There’s also an ambulance on standby at the park. My roommate told me that when they were at the Vatican museum today that there was also an ambulance waiting by the line. Probably just in case. The Vatican line….no thanks, man. We tried to go there last week and we got there around 8:30, thinking since it opened at 9 there wouldn’t be that long of a line yet. Wrongo. The line wrapped around the big wall and over to the guys selling the knock off purses. Definitely not for me.

This market, however, yes. Go to it, you’ll love it. Things do start to look the same after awhile, but it’s not a bad thing. I finally found normal underwear here. It’s a funny thing about Rome…men’s underwear is sold in most men’s clothing stores, women’s underwear however, is not. When you’re sick of doing laundry every few days because you decided it would be a good idea to pack light…a store that will sell you an extra few pairs will soon become a highlight of your shopping trip. I could not find a store to sell them…or normal socks really, but this market, just the ticket. And everything here is pretty cheap. You just have to be willing to dig and get on in there. A lot of the stuff isn’t the highest of quality, but they people selling it are usually very easily talked down on their prices. I didn’t pay full price for anything except the underwear, and that’s just because I was so happy to find them.

The market is pretty much set up in different sections. I haven’t quite figured out the lay of it since we were only there once, but once you get past a lot of the jewelry, scarves, clothes, shoes, and bags, there are areas that have really cool antiques, masks, old Japanese antiques, furniture, frames, art, music, tons of stuff. We even passed a few boxes of old squeaky toys. I loved seeing all the colors of the different stands and the boxes. Chandeliers and toys, beads and fabric. Old Italian men selling what they’ve found in old boxes in the basement…at least I like to think of it this way. It has a nice soundtrack of Italian murmur in the background with sellers at their stands trying to persuade you to choose them.

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