We learned an important lesson in Arezzo – one of the most beautiful hill towns in all of Italy. Don’t plan your visit to the largest antique market in all of Italy if it’s off-season, in the rain, after noon. This is the sign we saw after traveling for two hours, finding a parking lot (follow the signs that say “Petri” car park), and taking a series of escalators to the top of the hill and the center of town:
Because we saw all the vendors packing up (the market was supposed to be 8-8 and it was only noon), we assumed the sign said “closed due to rain.” Nope, the sign says “total market sell-off; proceeds for the children of Africa. THANK YOU.” Huh?
A few hardy vendors continued to offer wares and we discovered inexpensive Murano glass figurines (about 80% off the prices in Venice) and alabaster lighters (a bargain at 5 euros and much cheaper than in Volterra, a hill town that specializes in alabaster). Extraordinary dining tables and wardrobes were offered for pennies on the dollar. With a little sunshine and the expected 500 antique vendors, this visit would have been one of the highlights of our tour of Umbria. Instead, we shopped in a chilling, drenching rain as we visited about a dozen vendors.
The hill town once known as Poppi is one of the easiest hilltops to access thanks to large, clearly marked parking lots and clean, modern escalators.
You can also park and walk if you are into climbing but we were thankful for the escalators.
Since the antiques market was a bust, we decided to tour the lovely frescoes by Piero della Francesco in the Basillica San Francisco. Do churches really close on Sunday? Apparently they do in Arezzo on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
We wrote Arezzo up as a major disappointment. It’s hard to get excited about a town that’s closed.
Terry had noticed a large outlet mall about 30 minutes south of Arezzo complete with a McDonald’s! Sometimes you have to leave the old world behind and head for the mall. You can read about our McDonald’s/Outlet Mall adventure at http://gograno.com/2016/03/mcdonalds-and-th…et-mall-in-italy