Monday, 23 June 2008

The Porta Portese Flea Market

The Porta Portese flea market in Trastevere is the biggest flea market in Rome and all of Italy. Every Sunday morning, as early as 5 a.m., people begin parading down the streets in search of bargains. Over two thousand stalls line the road as stallholders aggressively try to get your business. Here the savvy shopper can pick up a wide variety of new and used items. However, the experience can be quite overwhelming for visitors. For instance, when I first arrived at the market a feeling of claustrophobia came over me as the swarms of people plowed over me like I was invisible. The combination of the hoards of people and the feeling of uncertainty left me very overwhelmed initially. However, once I figured out how the market worked and I grew accustomed to the crowds, I was in the swing of things. It is a great spot for gifts that are reasonably priced, but make sure you never settle for the initial price. You need to use what bargaining skills you have. I decided to make it more interesting by making a game out of it. I went around to different stalls selling similar products to see how low I could get the stallholders to go. Overall, it is definitely a tiring but rewarding Italian experience.

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