Jennifer and I simply love outdoor markets. Jen holds on to the belief that she’s going to stumble across a vintage Louis Vuitton handbag or uncover that perfect piece for our future living room. I’ve got much lower (and more realistic expectations); I’m just thrilled that I get to eat “street food”. Nothing is better than a porchetta paninio (pork sandwich) from a food vendor with freshly fried zeppole (Italian donuts) for dessert. I love sandwiches, I love eating outside and I love feeding my entire family for less than €20!
Jen has been trying to get to the Mercatone dell’Antiquariato del Naviglio Grande since we moved here nearly a year and a half ago. “What’s the big deal – why is it so hard to make it to a market”, you ask? Well, this particular market only takes place on the last Sunday of each month (except for July). For those of you that aren’t math wizards, that’s just eleven chances a year to make it to Milan for this 80-year-old Milanese tradition. Our first attempt was foiled – we set out one day in January of 2013, but got derailed when we couldn’t find parking. It was ambitious of me to try so soon after moving to Italy – had I known then what I know now, I would have just thrown my car on the curb like the hundreds of other locals. Instead, we stopped for lunch and found an amazing sandwich place, which I blogged about HERE. After lunch, we lost the motivation to go back and agreed, “we’ll try again as soon as we get the next opportunity”. Well, travel and other obligations delayed that opportunity fifteen more months.
We had been casually referring to the market as “Milan’s Antique Market”. Certainly, there is some truth in referring to the Mercatone dell’Antiquariato as an antique market, but perhaps flea market is a more apt description. The products sold range from old shoes to mid-century furniture. You can acquisition antique coffee makers or art by local artists. The best part about paying a visit to this unique bazaar is that you’ll never know what you need until you find it.
Roughly 380 vendors wind their way up Alzaia Naviglio Grande, placing their backs to the canal. This trendy neighborhood in Milan features many cafes and bars that call to the younger, artistic crowd. Jen and I had been hoping to get away from the centro (center) of Milan and visit this particular area for some time. Well, two birds… as they say. As lunch time approached, we picked a great pizzeria in a former factory – the space was as great as the food. If you find yourself in Milan near the last weekend of the month, be sure to carve out some time for the Mercatone dell’Antiquariato.
WHAT » Mercatone dell’Antiquariato del Naviglio Grande
WHEN » Last Sunday of every month (except July)
WHERE » Milan
Strada Alzaia Naviglio Grande, via Valenza, South
Metro Porta Genova/bus 59, 74, 169
Tram 2, 3, 9, 14, 15, 29, 30