With plenty of choice on offer, and good value to boot, isn’t it time to make your way over the border to sample the delights of the Italian markets?

A mild climate the whole year round, this is the appeal of the Riviera dei Fiori to her visitors. Liguria has more to offer than just this charming ingredient – the magic to leave behind the mundane and enter into another dimension. Here, where the exclusive boutiques of Ventimiglia, Bordighera or Sanremo, exist alongside the gritty outdoor markets, where they sell everything from household goods to top quality oils in the Bio market in Dolceacqua. What better place to present the ancient and modern charm that characterises this region than the markets?

The covered market in Ventimiglia, a stones throw away from the rather grotty station with typical local fruits, vegetables and fish – open virtually all week, not just on Fridays – is actually very pleasant and well worth the visit. The prices are generally lower and the quality higher than we find across the border in France, with plenty of typical Italian produce such as dried tomatoes, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. 

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However, the better known Friday market leaves plenty to be desired: too many stalls full of rather unoriginal and not so cheap (more or less the same price as in the high street) handbags, shoes and clothes. So the watchword for this part is: don’t bother braving the Ventimiglia crowds on a Friday, it really isn’t worth it.

Bordighera, blessed with a lovely, lively market selling clothes, shoes, jewellery, doormats, food, fruit, olive oil, bread, Italian salami, prosciutto and more! Bordighera Market takes place every Thursday from 8.00 am to 1.00 pm on the Promenade Lungomare Argentina. For those of you who are tired of winter, with its drab colours and freezing temperatures, why not whisk yourself away to this lovely place? Like the Italian Queen Margherita did – her name inspired the Margherita Pizza, and her grace, architects. Look out for those luxurious villas surrounded by splendid gardens! A must is a little excursion into atmospheric Corso Italia with its funky shops, bars and restaurants. This is a traditional town with a lively edge.

Since ancient times, the Via Aurelia goes from Bordighera to Sanremo. Here, beauty of the scenery meets the tangible traces of the historical importance of this route! A popular town worth a visit not only for its market.  It hosts numerous cultural events, such as the Sanremo Music Festival and the Milan – Sanremo Cycling Classic. The city is widely accepted as the origin of the five-card stud variant telesina! The food market is open on Monday to Saturday 4am to 1.00pm and also on Saturdays from 4pm to 7.30pm in Piazza Eroi Sanremesi.

Sanremo Market takes place every Tuesday and Saturday from 8.00am to 1.00 pm in the same location, Piazza Eroi Sanremesi. Colourful stalls of fresh produce, food, flowers, clothes, household goods….this is a good market that will have you hooked at the end!

Fresh Mediterranean vegetables at market

A source of vitality is the Organic Food Market in Dolceacqua. It’s an organic market with local farmers and vendors selling their produce like fruits and vegetables, fresh pasta, breads, meat, vinegar, honey, sweets, jams, and the wonderful Rossese! Andrea Doria or Napoleon Bonaparte always kept several casks of the wine, bringing pleasure, rest and relaxation! The market takes place on the last Sunday of the month from 10am to 6pm.

There’s nothing better than a leisurely wander around a bustling Italian market such as this, taking in the sights, sounds and smells and soaking up the atmosphere. With its idyllic situation, just a few kilometres away from the French border, with its classic architecture and gorgeous rural setting, Dolceacqua is everything you could hope for from Italy.

The first thing we discovered was a love of the wine of the region. Try some in one of the restaurants or food tents in the market – it’s a lovely way to while away the day!
 

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