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“Great Italian market near Menton France”

Ventimiglia Old Town
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US$ 109.87*
and up
Private Tour: Italian Riviera, San Remo...
Reviewed 16 July 2013

If you are visiting the French Riviera, make sure you go this fascinating market on the border of France and Italy. Located just half an hour from Menton, or about an hour from Nice, do yourself a favour and take the train to Ventimiglia and walk down to the weekly Friday market just five minutes from the train station.
They sell everything under the sun at very reasonable prices. I have picked up whie embroidered linen tablecloths, lovely gold guilted wine glasses, more shawls and. capes that i will admit to, and even large blocks of parmesan cheese.
It has a distinctive Italian feel, and you will be spoiled for choice of restaurants offering typical Italian fare.
All in all, a lovely day out.

2  Thank 2vagabons
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (550)
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"friday market"
in 17 reviews
"train station"
in 15 reviews
"day trip"
in 11 reviews
"newer part"
in 2 reviews
"fake bags"
in 2 reviews
"flower stalls"
in 2 reviews
"washing hanging"
in 2 reviews
"narrow streets"
in 8 reviews
"few hours"
in 7 reviews
"open air market"
in 2 reviews
"children playing"
in 2 reviews
"sea front"
in 4 reviews
in 7 reviews
"italian leather"
in 3 reviews
"nice shops"
in 2 reviews
"lots of places to eat"
in 2 reviews
"fruit and veg market"
in 2 reviews

143 - 147 of 550 reviews

Reviewed 16 June 2013 via mobile

We took a train from Nice to Ventimiglia. Along the way we stopped at Eze and Monte Carlo (MC beig our main destination). We stopped at Ventimiglia for just a few hours but it was a big change in character from the French towns. The Italians were very friendly and a lot more open and animated. The French were a lot more serious and calm. We enjoyed the laid back, yet busy nature of the city. It seewmed a lot more alive than MC, even though the two cities were both filled with people.

Compared to MC, Ventimiglia was not as well maintained and clean. MC is better for its architecture and luxurious nature. Ventimiglia has more personality and also better and more affordable food. The market was filled with fresh food and bargaining got us some amazing deals. The water front was also beautiful and similar to the rocky beach that Nice and Eze have but the beach was not as populated.

I would recommend stopping at this town. Atvthe train station it seems ghetto, but walking out of the train station only 1 minute later you will see that the city is in fact worth visiting. It's at the vary least a good change of atmosphere and a good place to eat. However, the only takeback is the lack of well-maintained buildings / architecture to look at.

5  Thank elenxhi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 June 2013

Charming little town, toes in the sea and head in the clouds. The market there is exceptional, cheaper than in France and the people are very friendly.

1  Thank lapis30
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2013

Crossing the frontier between France and Italy shouldn't be more than a road sign or a line on your map, but it feels as if it is much more than just an abstraction. There is a palpable change in the atmosphere - the sun seems brighter, the sea bluer and the welcoming smiles of the Italians are more genuine and heart warming - particularly after the more rigid, businesslike attitudes of the French. The great French artist and author Jean Cocteau observed that the French are Italians in a bad mood. Entering into Italy and feeling the warmth, it is hard to disagree.

The Principality of Monaco is unapologetically an extremely expensive place to visit. The price tag, given the reputation of this playground of the rich and famous, seems appropriate. But, if you are on a budget or battling an unfavorable exchange rate, and you are looking for a fulfilling, affordable travel experience, take heart - you are just 4 1/2 miles away from your goal. Take a train or the autoroute and you are there in a matter of minutes.

When you arrive in Ventimiglia you are light years away from France in all the feel good categories: food, fashion and friendliness. The town is on the Gulf of Genoa, at the mouth of the Roya River. It has a population of 55,000 and a deep history; traces of which can still be seen today - particularly in the medieval center of the old city.

The Ligurians held forth until 115 BC when they were conquered by the Romans. The Romans, realizing the importance of the strategic position, constructed vast fortifications - thick walls in a huge defensive square shape with cylindrical towers at each corner - most of which are still standing.

Down through the following centuries the town was besieged by the Byzantines, the Goths, Charlemagne, the Saracens, the Dukes of Savoy and finally, the Genoese. These days all it takes to conquer the old Town is a walk up the hill to the ancient city center. You will be rewarded with spectacular views of the Mediterranean and the new town below.

In the medieval plaza the Church of St. Michael the Arc Angel still stands. It was erected in the 10th century on the foundations of a pagan temple. The Romanesque Cathedral still houses an 11th century Baptistery, excavated during the last restoration project. The library has the largest collection of 17th century manuscripts and books in Italy.

Despite all the impressive history of Ventimiglia, the street market is the most famous weekly event on the Riviera. Each Friday there is an amazing transformation that takes place along the entire length of the beachfront of the new town. Hundreds of stalls are set-up during the night; and when the sun rises, the sight of the multicolored market that sprung-up overnight like fine Italian mushrooms, stretching for hundreds of meters along the sea, is breathtaking.

At 7 AM the people start streaming into the town, swelling the populations by the thousands. Parking spaces are snapped-up quickly and traffic jams form, stretching all the way back to the autoroute. French, English, Italian, German and tourists from all over Europe stroll through the market, pausing at each stall to inspect the goods - all conducted to the tune of the merchants hawking their wares.

On display is a vast variety of items. Italian leather goods - bags, shoes, gloves and belts; clothing for men, women and children, kitchen implements, linens, jewelry and watches; side by side with stalls selling sun-dried tomatoes, cheeses, ham and pasta. Not all the merchandise is Italian or of the finest quality. Nor are the prices universally a bargain. You will find Chinese knockoffs of just about everything. Caveat Emptor certainly is the rule, but a discerning eye can find excellent bargains.

There is another market in Ventimiglia that is as special and exciting a place for anyone who loves good food. It is the covered market, just meters from the beachfront, and it houses the finest and freshest produce, fruit, vegetables, cheeses, pasta, meat, fresh seafood and flowers that the region has to offer. The sights, sounds and scents are the market are purely technicolor to the eyes and mouthwatering to the senses. The airplane hangar sized building that houses the market is open 7 days a week.

The Roia or Roya river, as it makes it's journey from the high Alps Maritime to the Gulf of Genoa, divides the town into two parts - the new town and the hilltop medieval city. The waters around the mouth of the river provide a home for swans, ducks and migratory birds throughout the year. Restaurants line the beachfront along both sides of the bridge. They feature local sea food and Italian dishes of the region. Stella Mare restaurant, located on the old town side of the bridge, is particularly recommended for it's excellent food, reasonable prices and charming location - directly on the beach. Keep in mind that it is extremely difficult to find a bad meal in Italy.

The region around Ventimiglia features some unique destinations. There is a Roman theatre from the 2nd century just on the outskirts of town. A short drive away to Mortola is the world famous Hanbury Gardens - built by Sir Thomas Hanbury in 1867. It is regarded as one of the finest botanical gardens in the world. It features lush Mediterranean vegetation, sculptures, fountains, pools, pillars, columns, stone benches and temples - 5,800 species in all, covering 18 hectares. The Villa Hanbury sits 103 meters above the sea. Built with the fortune amassed by Sir Hanbury while trading in Shanghai, it still stands as a beautiful and gracious spot to visit.

In the direction of the French border and Menton, there is a most dramatic natural rock formation, directly on the coastline. Balzi Rossi is a series of seven enormous red rock grottoes overlooking the sea. The caves housed homo-sapiens and cro-magnons dating back 250,000 years. Remains of elephants and hippos have been found, along with human skeletons. There is a museum where the skeletons are displayed, along with the famous sculpted figures of Venus found at the site.

Ventimiglia is a special place for visitors to experience. You will take many memories home with you, along with your shopping bags.

25  Thank MonacoCharlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 June 2013

Wonderful place to explore, like going back in time. An unexpected high point of our trip. Would certainly go back for a longer stay.

1  Thank squirrely9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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