This last Sunday of the month market is the biggest one I have found near Padova. This village is near Padova, about 20 minutes a bit northwest of Padova. If you like flea markets, this is the one for you. It takes about 3 hours to see it all if you do not stop too much. It is huge. We actually have never seen the whole thing as we become tired of looking after 3 hours.
There is parking a few blocks from the market.
You will also see a wonderful and huge villa across the canal from the piazza where the main part of the market is held. There is a building for major sellers that has been completely redone behind the piazza.
This is many times larger that the one held on weekends in Padova.
They, of course have food, but there are bars and a trattoria on site.
Expect lots of people on good weather days. Go early.
What to buy: They have it all...from chandeliers to army helmets. Clothes, paintings, old books, dishes, cameras, typewriters, copper pots, coffee grinders, lamps, and war medals.
I am sure you will see what you came to buy. The prices are not cheap. These folks know the values of their items. They do not bargain too much.
Of course, there is a lot of junky stuff, but also things interesting... Much like visiting an outdoor museum.
What to pay: We did not find anything to be a cheap bargain as the sellers are savvy on their possessions.
The main building at the market is of course the Palazzo della Ragione (Hall of Justice). With its length of 82 meters you simply can’t miss it. It’s just a part of the experience to walk up the stairs to the upper galleries and have a look down at the market square. It’s built in 1218 and claims to have the widest room with a roof unsupported by columns in Europe.
But we also kept on walking on the huge central market square where vendors had displayed their fruit and vegetables in amazingly colourful pyramids. In the side-galleries we saw stands with local wine, fresh meat, all sorts of candies, leather bags, milk products, et cetera. At the back side of the Palazzo there was quite a small part with only stands of fish, maybe some kind of a fish market. We were impressed by it and saw a lot of native fish, prawns and other fish we didn't recognized. Of course many of them were still alive -> Talking about fresh! It's quite a typical place as we found fresh food, accessories, but above all, a burst of colours, people, voices, light, noices, aromas and characters straight out of a storybook. We did buy some fresh fruit and was able to haggle a few Euro cents off the price. Later on I even got some candies for the kids for free! We simply loved this colourful place full of life.
We can honestly state that if you are looking to buy fresh food in a picturesque setting, be sure to visit Padua’s Market at the Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza delle Frutta. Do keep in mind that this is not only a market to come and buy, but also to enjoy the pleasure of wandering around ... and so we did! Once we entered the square we witnessed that here at the market the stand owners still engage in the direct and personalized sale of day-to-day products. We immediately saw this huge beautiful Palazzo delle Ragione with its amazing arcades and open passages with little (wooden) shops/stalls and the hive of activity and the atmosphere was a riot of colours.
We did walk around for almost half an hour and we smelled (and almost could taste) the aromas from the various exotic flowers, fruit and vegetables, willow works, fish and other local Italian products. We noticed that some of the stalls were already closed and we learned that they were sold out for the day, so they did well! Some of the vendors were in traditional costumes, which again added to the vibrancy of this magical place. It was great fun to see the kids breathing the atmosphere and enjoying themselves even though they were still so young!
Trade has been the most important sector in Padua since the city was founded. In recent years, retailers have been an engine of growth for the city, especially the local offer. Along the length of the street Via VIII Febbraio most of the traditional businesses are clustered. The old stone streets and piazzas to the southeast of the Piazza delle Erbe are pedestrianized and form the shopping center of the town. And if you really like souvenir shopping, many of the little shops are hidden away in various arcades dotted around the old city. Don't, however, expect too much large shops or chain-stores. Padua is not quite like that: it has more character. Part of this character is the daily market at the squares Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta.
To just state this correctly: Padua has two major markets. The oldest and also largest market fills the Piazza delle Erbe and Piazza della Frutta, lying to the north and south of a grand, arcaded stone building, the Palazzo della Ragione. It is a true pleasure to walk here and enjoy the atmosphere.
A true find this old grocery store in Padova that since 1841 sell rare aromas and unbottled spices,dyes for woven, a variery of candy and chocolate. Inside this little shop you can really feel the taste of an old traditional grocery.
The also have a wide selection of international food that is hard to find in our local supermarkets.
You can find peanut butter, A1 Sauce and Heinz ketchup, maple syrup, indian spices and paste, greek specialties as dolmades, Japanese as wasaby and much more.
What to buy: Spices, tea and more
Dental problem + not speaking the language = crisis.
Hopefully while you are jetsetting the world, you will have no need for a dentist. BUT, a crisis can happen, and this place really helped me out. They do basic dental as well as fancy orthodontic things, and best of all they have an emergency option (same day appointment). The receptionist doesn't speak english but the dentist does - if you can't get him on the phone, they do answer their email within a day or two (or you can just pop in in person).
I went here just after I arrived in Padova because, as luck would have it, a huge filling crumbled away leaving my inner toothy goodness exposed to the horrors of gelato and hot coffee. While I can't say it was a fun experience, they were professional and did a damn good job.
What to pay: About 100 euros for an emergency appointment, x-ray, and permanent filling
Padova food stores mostly observe the following restrictions.
Sundays, most stores closed, however you can find some market stores for groceries open, in particular Iperlando, and Lidl stores.
The main piazza market shops close at 1:00 and the sellers pack up and leave.
The shops in a building reopen at 3:30.
For bargains in vegetables do your shopping just before they close for lunch at the piazzas and Prato delle Valle.
What to buy: Always ask the price if it is not displayed near the item. You can also expect to find out the country it came from if not from Italy. They are supposed to display this information.
Often you may not see something you need but you should ask if they have it, for instance avocados. These are scarce at times, but I have asked and they reach around behind some boxes and come up with an avocado.
Difficult to find a chili peppers during certain times of the year.
What to pay: Vegetables in the open air market are not cheaper than the stores, but will usually be fresher and ripeness will be a factor.
During the mornings, Monday through Saturday you will find outdoor markets set up to provide the locals with food items, clothing, fabrics, and items for the home.
What to buy: I shop for fresh vegetables here, but sometimes find other items. see below
I bought some blue sunglasses here, and what is funny is that in Greece 3 different people wanted to buy them from me.
What to pay: average prices. They do not bargain much.
Finding hard to get items in Italy, such as molasses, syrup, and other products made out of Italy and not normally used by Italians in food preparation.... this is where I go if I cannot find them in the local shops near my home.
This old store, and believe me, when I say old, I mean it even smells older...quite nice actually, I hope this place never gets bought up and remade into some modern, fancy, New York type food shop, but remains like it has always been. The old guys who run it make you feel like you are back in time, their work clothes look like they come from an historical book sitting on a dusty shelf.
They have candies wrapped in bins that I have never seen, i buy vanilla from them for my cakes, and salts from around the world.
Even if you don't buy anything and are just being a tourist, please go into this shop for a few minutes and take a look. This kind of store is slowly disappearing.
What to buy: I listed the items above.
They have lots more packed on shelves and sitting in the back.
Items from Great Britain, and the U.S., Ireland and more.
What to pay: Surprisingly not expensive. The locals come here and this is the reason it is not high priced.
Many items you buy by the weight, rather than prepackaged in some factory.
This is where I buy my spices, although they do have a nice selection of pastas, too.
You can also see here grappa and some wines.
What to buy: Nicely package items to bring home as gifts.
What to pay: A bit higher, but nicely packaged.
The masters of pasta work here. People line up to have them cut ravioli from huge sheets, others order pasta by weight and take it home to cook later.
You can see in the window....many types of pasta.
lIf you love pasta, this is your place. At least stop by and go in for a look.
What to buy: Filled ravioli with turffles is my favorite.
What to pay: Some things are more expensive, but others are average priced.
The shop located in the center of Padova always gets lots of window shoppers who dream of having just the right tool for their cooking needs. They have the most brands and types of knives that i have ever seen. They also have hunting knifes, mens shaving items and small appliances for the kitchen that would be considered a "gourmet" buy in America.
What to buy: I have purchased some Japanese knives and I also take my knives here to be sharpened.
What to pay: 5 large kitchen knives sharpened for 18 euros.
They have expensive items and average priced items. Do not expect cheap brands.
This fellow you see sets up his products in Piazza delle Erbe. Somedays he is there, somedays he is not. However, when he is there you can depend on him to have many kinds of nuts. He even has nuts from Oregon...go figure!
If you are familiar with the American product called Corn Nuts, he has this--regular and hot.
I bug him about having pecans, but they are difficult to find in Italy.
He is a good one to practice your Italian with, as he is patient....and has the time to help you a little.
What to buy: Chestnuts, and pistaccios.
What to pay: Same prices or lower than stores
This store has saved me on many a Sunday as Grocery Stores are mostly all closed in Padova on that day, however, Pam is not.
They have products that are typical of a market.
My Italian teacher told me that years ago when he was a boy, this store was instead an outdoor fishmarket on a canal.
The canal is gone and now you find buildings.
What to buy: There is a good selection of wine, sliced meats, and delicacies of the Veneto.
What to pay: A bit higher than other markets.
Located at the back corner of Piazza del Erbe is the wonderful bakery shop. They have more than bread and they specialize in cakes and biscotti. During holidays you can find those Italian aromatic cakes.
The ladies love their job and are always smiling even when the crush of customers are out the door.
This is a popular place in the center of Padova.
What to buy: There is so many things here, I have not been able to try them all. However, I buy the large hard crusted breads, and usually take home some dolci.
What to pay: Prices are just a bit higher here as the quality is higher, too.