It’s funny, because I get a lot of people asking me about the weekly outdoor markets in Vernazza (on Tuesdays), Monterosso (on Thursdays), and La Spezia (on Fridays). Maybe it’s because they are mentioned in some of the guidebooks? People seem really excited to go see these markets and I hate to rain on their parade. But really? I don’t usually recommend them as aside from a booth or two most of the stuff is cheap, cheap, cheap (as the old adage says, you get what you pay for) and made in China (or pretty much anywhere else besides Italy). But there are a few exceptions for outdoor markets that I do recommend…
- Every morning (except on Sundays), you can witness the hustle & bustle at Piazza del Mercato in La Spezia for fruit, veg, flowers, fresh fish, cheese and cured meats. There’s nothing touristic about this market… you’ll be elbow-to-elbow with locals doing their daily shopping. And that’s one of the things that makes it such a neat experience.
- In La Spezia there’s a once monthly antique market which can be really cool to visit (it’s the first Sunday of each month, excluding July and August, and is located at Piazza del Mercato).
- For those that really want to experience an acclaimed outdoor market I recommend taking the train about an hour down the coast from Cinque Terre to a place in Tuscany called Forte dei Marmi. In case you didn’t know, Forte dei Marmi is known as the “Beverly Hills” of Italy with its posh designer boutiques, VIP visitors and vast sandy beaches. But it’s also home to a weekly outdoor market that is considered to be Italy’s best, with quality artisan “Made in Italy” products. THIS is my kind of market!