Tag Archives: antiques

Dispatch from the Parma Antique Fair

I have always wanted to attend the Parma Antique Fair because I have bought many things from the fair thanks to my pickers in Italy. Since we have been working on La Fortezza, I have woken up on Saturdays to tons of pics and choices sent to me by my designer Forrest and his partner Roberto from the Parma Fair. They both have an amazing eye. I am blessed to have them in my world, and the objects they have found for me over the past 2 years are astounding. This year I wanted to go along and see what all the fuss was about.

Well…I can tell you that the fair was dizzying. I have been to lots of fairs and antiques shows, like Round Top in Texas and Isle sur la Sorgue, but nothing compares to the beauty and the perfection in selection at Parma; it is like nothing I have every seen. There is row after row of Italian treasures. I was gob-smacked. No words could describe the sheer quantity and quality on sale. Mind you, we attended at the end of the show, but there were still gobs of beautiful objects everywhere. We waited until the end of show on purpose, too. Since I was shopping for basics, I felt that I could miss the crowds and leisurely take advantage of end of show pricing.

With Forrest by my side, we flew up and down the aisles with laser beam focus. I picked up a large dining room table and classic Italian wood chairs for the commercial kitchen as we plan to eat some meals in the commercial kitchen, mostly in the fall and winter if it’s too cold outside. The table will also serve as a beautiful surface for cooking, foodstyling lessons, and photography. The student lounge, located next to the commercial kitchen, now has some wonderful leather club chairs – all worn in, soft and comfy. The club chairs were in the most elegant booth manned by a most elegant vendor. She gave us a great deal, and we bought the last matching set. The guest quarters has a really cool rustic table for the entry, plus I found some wonderful wire chairs and a table for folks to hang out on while enjoying an espresso of a glass of wine with a few nibbles in the guest kitchenette.

We loaded all our finds into the old Range Rover. It’s incredibly roomy, but even I was surprised how much fit into the back, and we headed back home just in time for Aperitivo. It was a super successful trip – efficient and inspiring, just the way I like it. If you’re thinking about attending the Parma Antiques Fair, I highly recommend it. I would definitely schedule at least 2 to 3 days since there is so much to see. Plus Parma is such a wonderful place to visit.

Make sure you check in with the blog over the next months as we will be outfitting the rooms with all of our finds starting in May. I can’t wait to share the end results with you as we get ready for our summer of workshops and retreats.

xx Annette


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Sarzana, Italy | Antiques Fair

IMG_5412 Every year in August the city of Sarzana opens it’s streets to one the most lovely Antiques Markets.

The City of Sarzana is at the entrance to the valley of the Magra (ancient Macra), the boundary between Eturia and Liguria in Roman times, gave it military importance in the Middle Ages. The first mention of the city is found in 983 in a diploma of Otto ;1 in 1202 the episcopal sea was transferred from the ancient Luni, 5 kilometres (3 mi) southeast, to Sarzana. It’s a city that is chocked full of handmade shops, and some pop up shops as well. I love shopping here for unique handmade clothes and shoes. There are many antiques shops, home furnishing and accessory boutiques, and great restaurants and bars.

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We wandered the fair and picked up a few bits and bobs, my new found friend (a German Art Director from Berlin, Heike) who my friend Forrest introduced me to found an amazing espresso machine from the 60’s that had never been used. She was mainly excited because she owns one in Berlin, and this would be a great addition to their newly purchased home in the Lunigiana.

Forrest brought us to Amaro! a pop up shop of a ceramics team that he’s fond of. Great little shop, and I am still kicking myself for not buying a bunch of bowls. Arrgh.

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Great night in Sarzana, if you’re ever near Cinque Terra or Pisa you should definitely put this little Medieval town on your list. Ciao xx


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Prop shopping in L’Isle sur la Sorgue

L’Isle sur la Sorgue, city of heavenly flea markets and antiques, is not to be missed! While traveling in Provence, I was lucky enough to tag along on the hunt with my dear designer friend Monica Demonte. Monica knows the place like the back of her hand as well as some secret haunts I’d never been to. Sure you see plenty of American designers walking around pointing and buying up the goods, but go with a pro and see things that are off limits to the crowd. It was a magical day. You may have seen the photo below on instagram, don’t you love these chairs covered in vines as you walk up the staircase?
I bought a few wonderful things. One of my favorite finds was an oversized tart pan that looks a lot like my new logo. I think it will make the perfect sign for the cooking school I am thinking of opening down the road here in Italy. In the meantime… it looks great in my kitchen! In the end our trip was such a great inspiring adventure, thanks Monica! You’re the best tour guide ever! xx

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