Monday, October 3

TRAVEL COLUMN: Antique Shopping in Parma, Italy at the Mercanteinfiera with The Antiques Diva

Fresh off the Plane From Italy,
We share Highlights From The Mercanteinfiera Antiques Show in Parma

Parma, Italy

(right) smitten with these
Louis Vuitton trunks circa 1908;
(left) nabbed these Italian plates

Last weekend, I was part of a group of interior designers invited to attend and shop at this annual antique market which takes place in the culinary capital of Italy, the 
 Emilia-Romagna region of Parma.  It was certainly a benefit to us that the Mercanteinfiera is where the finest prosciutto and parmigiana cheese is made.  Parma also boasts beautiful, historic Renaissance and Romanesque architecture. 

The folks from the Market invited us at the recommendation of our friend Toma Clark Haines of the Antiques Diva.  We quickly realized this show is a secret source for many industry designers and dealers.  Our first day was exciting, and we were invited to shop in the wee hours of the morning as the vendors were unloading their trucks and setting up the booths, and days before they opened to the public.  We took in the awe-inspiring and lovely Italian chaos--the magic that ensued with bicycles whirling by, movers hauling furniture with cigarettes in hand, and a slew of friendly dogs amidst all the antiques.  The whirlwind experience is not for the faint of heart, but it is important to note that magic happens in this chaos and soon these booths were set up like quaint design shops.  We ventured forth walking aisle to aisle taking in the mixture of styles and time periods of antiques and vintage furniture, accessories, art, lighting and jewelry, and noting that many designers were buying right off the truck so the goods never even made it to the booth.  Some in our group bought enough to fill their own freight container, then spent the latter part of the weekend working out the administrative details of international freight with the on-site shipping companies.  All in all, the general consensus from our group was the prices were quite good, better than back in the States, and if able to navigate the international shipping, was well worth the travel.

Over the next couple of months, we will bring you highlights of the talents we traveled with, profiling their shops, designs and sharing their sources with our readers.  We are grateful to the generosity and convivial spirit of Toma who made this trip possible for all of us!  


more about the Antiques Diva:
Toma Clark Haines is The Antiques Diva – Chief Executive Diva of The Antiques Diva & Co European Tours. An American who has lived abroad since 2000, it has been said that Clark Haines is conquering countries faster than Napoleon.  Working with a team of locally-based agents, The Antiques Diva & Co has become Europe’s largest antiques touring company, offering customized antiques buying tours in 8 countries to both tourists (mere shopping mortals) and the trade (antique dealers and interior designers). Her favorite part of her job is stocking client’s stores across the pond and creating new trends in home fashion.  When this stylemaker is not on a buying tour Clark Haines is also a freelance travel and design writer, an international public speaker, an interior decorator and social media guru.  She is a champagne connoisseur, a vintage Chanel addict and her hobbies include driving fast cars and gourmet cooking.  Traveling extensively for work, she divides her time between her home in Berlin, Germany, with Catpuccino, her 20-year-old cat and traveling in each of her company’s tour countries. Her greatest challenge in life is remembering when she wakes up each morning whether to greet the day with a Buongiorno,BonjourGuten Tag or simply Good Day!
Happy Nesting
XO Tamara

 other highlights in and around Parma...
we shared a wine tour, 
tasting and delicious dinner at Lamoretti Vineyard
  hills south of Parma near the Castle of Torrechiara 

Baptistery of Parma ceiling