BUYING ANTIQUES in Italy | Notes from the Road

Fascinating antique objects have always tugged at my heartstrings, it’s why I love what I do. Bringing antiques with charm, history, and faded elegance into your homes and life is such a joy.

Knowing that a piece I “discovered” in a Parisian stall, or at a Belgian dealer’s home, or at a European antiques show makes your home feel blessed and makes your heart beat faster?

My most special feeling.

Another exciting part of my antique job is being invited to special shows around the world. In September, my husband and I flew to Parma, Italy, for 4 {yes! 4!!} magical days as the special invited guests of MercanteinFiera and The Antiques Diva& Co.  I’m excited to have you join us on our Fall #FrenchGardenHouseShopsEurope adventure!

It was a whirlwind of delight, discovery and excitement.  After arriving in Milan, we were wisked away by our driver for the two hour trip to Parma. Had lunch in the hotel, then took a nap, because honestly, we’d been traveling 26 hours, and were a little sleepy.

That evening we met our small group in the lobby of the hotel for Prosecco and appetizers, then went by taxis to a beautiful small restaurant, where we dined from 8:30 ’til 12:00!

Parma is a large city, with a gorgeous old town filled with ages-old buildings, parks, museums, little restaurants and gelato shops. {I adored the gelato.}

The large park connecting our hotel to the old part of Parma.


The Antiques Diva & Co., a tour company with guides who create private bespoke antiques buying tour for each and every client, sent us two fabulous Italian guides, Chiara and Orsi. They were absolutely amazing!

Any time you want to go to Europe {world-wide, really, they have guides everywhere!} THE way to go is by going on an Antiques Diva & Co. tour. They will take you places you will never in a hundred years find on your own. I have shopped Europe for decades, and the first time I went on a tour with Toma was a complete eye-opener! You can visit her site and enquire about booking your own tour here.

Our little group included Eric Ross of Eric Ross Interiors, his wife Ruth Ann, Katie Miller from Clodagh, New York, and Ken Kehoe & partner. Here we are posed in front of a vintage bus at the antiques show – minus Ken and Albert.

These are the most important treasures we found! New friends, we had so much fun together!

It was such a treat to be able to wander the 7 halls of antiques that first day. We were part of just 50 VIP guests, International antique dealers and interior designers, allowed in during the set up day. It was a little wild and crazy, with antique dealers setting up their spaces.

One thing that you probably won’t see here in the states at antique shows is dogs. The Italian dogs wandered around free, checking out booths, looking at all of us, or simply dropping down in the middle of an aisle for a nap!

I even saw one doing something to an antique chair leg that I promised not to tell anyone. So don’t ask!


The antiques were A M AZ I N G. Pieces from the 1500’s and up, large, small, precious.

A dealer of the most exceptional wood vitrines and desks. Look at the one with the arches and those little drawers!

Antique wood painted panels from Venetian grand homes. Gorgeous, but very, very pricey!

Each one is a work of hand painted art, created by artists long ago for the grand palaces called “Casa” in Venice. {Traditionally only three palaces were deemed worthy of being called a palazzo.}

Some of the porcelains offered for sale.  Hand painted works of art from all over Europe, Italy, France, Germany, Austria and everywhere in between.

I loved this pink ruffled bowl with the hand painted cherub in the center. I really loved it, but not enough to sell my car to purchase it!

In Parma, and many other European antique shows, the smaller the piece is, the more expensive it is.

The large pieces were the best buys. Because this show has so many visitors from all over the world, the smalls are high in price, because dealers know it is easy to carry them in a suitcase back home.

How gorgeous is this hand painted cabinet? Huge, but the price was about the same as some of the smaller porcelains {really NICE porcelains} I saw.

A shot of me, wearing my pass, my little cross body bag under my blazer with all my money, a necklace, and my glasses. {quite a mess, looking at it now!}  I don’t even think I had jet-lag, I was so excited to be there!

The Mercanteinfiera show really has something for everyone who loves antiques. These golden yellow painted commodes were stunning. French, from the Provence area. Beautiful!

Here’s another great piece from France.

And then there was this full antique stove. I believe it was English…so gorgeous!! What an amazing kitchen this would make in a remodel.


My John found something he loved too! Unfortunately it didn’t fit in his carry-on {the suitcases were already spoken for by ME.}


I fell in love with the hand made linens, can you believe this tablecloth? Just a few pieces are flying their way to FrenchGardenHouse soon!

I have a few more posts to share about Parma later on.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this tiny “behind the scenes” look into life as an antiques dealer.

Do you follow us on Instagram? There you can see daily shots of what we’re up to!


Thank you for joining me on our shopping tour… I’m just back at home. And loving the fall weather, and, well … just being home.

We are unpacking boxes and cases, and will be adding our latest antique treasures from our buying trip 24/7.

Thank you for joining me, it’s always fun to shop with friends!

Don’t forget to check back to see our latest finds from Italy, France, Holland and Belgium, I’ll be adding them on the daily.

Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and uniquely yours. Visit our shop

18 Responses to BUYING ANTIQUES in Italy | Notes from the Road

  1. YES! Your budget would have been shocked. But oh! the treasure you would have taken home to France.

  2. Thank you Rita! The antiques were amazing, like a museum. It’s always thrilling to see what other dealers are finding, loving and selling. Each antique show is totally different, and I have to admit, I’ve never been to one that I didn’t love! xo

  3. Oh what a fabulous trip you had! The antiques are beyond exquisite. How great to have this antiquing experience with such a lovely group of people…I had to gasp when I saw the name of Eric Ross’ wife. The name of my dear friend who passed away a few years ago. A very special name….Oh and Mr. FrenchGardenHouse had to be in his glory seeing the amazing cars! I am sure he would have looked good in it too!…and speaking of “looking good in it” … love your have the greatest jewelry!..and that blazer…you look great! The perfect outfit….very chic as always Lidy!

  4. Shirley, this was so much beauty and pleasure packed into 4 short days! I have to admit, the thought of flying to Italy from California and staying 4 days was a bit daunting, until we did it. It was so much more wonderful than we expected (and we expected a lot!) that both of us said we’d do it again in a heartbeat! And thank you for always being so sweet!

  5. I really enjoyed traveling with you and especially the
    Antique show.It is good to see what our fellow dealers
    are selling.Thank you.

  6. Thank you Lloyd. It was a grand trip…short, but amazing. And it’s always exciting to see what other dealers are up to around the world! There is so much vibrancy and life in our community of antique aficionados.

  7. Thanks for allowing us to travel with you on your trip. It’s wonderful to see everthing through your eyes. By the way, you looked great in your outfit. Can’t wait to see what you chose for us.

  8. Thank you so much, Alice! It was a fun trip, I probably have another two posts to do with some of the “other” things we saw. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Can’t wait for the purchases to arrive!

  9. What an exciting trip! Lidy, the photo of you with the other two angels is perfect! I’m sure Mr FGH is an angel too!
    XO Ginger

  10. Thank you Ginger! It was an exciting trip. We had 4 long days filled with gorgeous antiques, experiences, new friends, and then there was the food. oh my!

  11. Oh Lidy what an amazing trip! I could feel your excitement and love for all of these beautiful old pieces. My favorites are the art on wood how amazing that they have lasted so long and the old French white hutch . . . no words. Thank you for sharing and letting me come along it was thrilling.
    xoxo Jo

  12. OMG what amazing antiques. Loved the ruffled cherub bowl too. Can’t wait to see the new finds especially the linens.

  13. Vicki, everything was top of the line beautiful. You would love every single piece, I know it! Thank you for coming along on this little trip with me.

  14. Happy to share! It was amazing, that’s for sure! Thanks, Joyce, for visiting and leaving a comment,
    I always love to see you here.

    Hope you are having a beautiful October.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.