The vintage and antiques market at Praça Benedito Calixto in Sao Paulo on a Saturday is pretty lively. Under the tarpaulins, spread out on trestle tables or displayed in the traders’ booths, there’s a huge variety of goods for sale. It’s been a landmark destination for more than fifteen years. http://www.pracabeneditocalixto.com.br/
The market is set up in the square among the trees and benches from 9:00 a.m. Praça Benedito Calixto is home to restaurants and shops, cafes and offices. It’s just off the busy Rua Henrique Schaumann, the continuation of Avenida Brasil in the Zona Oeste of Sao Paulo.
Parking is an issue, as in all Sao Paulo, though the locals are only too happy to help for a small fee. Around the stalls it’s a crush which doesn’t subside until after 4 p.m.
Markets like these are open-air museums of the material culture of Brazil, and a great place for buying gifts. You could say that they are a more successful version of the modern museum or gallery with its coffee and shop – you can handle and buy the exhibits.
Calixto has more of the vintage than the antique, and some stalls verge on the junk shop end of the market, but there are also high quality items, old and new. I once bought a rococo bronze torchère there which had come from a propserous fazenda in the interior.
It’s a cornucopia of vintage advertising, vintage cameras, ‘Persian’ carpets of all kinds, ceramics, crockery,
crystal chandeliers and their individual ‘drops’, all kinds of clothes for men, women and children, old and new,
silver cutlery, vintage film lighting, smaller items of furniture, old and new, old and new glass ware,
graphic art, hats, vintage household goods of all kinds, incense, jewellery of all kinds, knives,
leather ware, linen, masks, contemporary paintings and sculpture, picture books, puppets,
vintage radios and record players, hand-made shoes, spectacle frames, old tools and machinery, vintage toys …
A food court in the centre of the Praça sells Brazilian food and drink, and in the middle of it, this expert group of musicians plays chorinho.
The seven-string guitar, cavaquinho and pandeiro are the mainstays, but like the stall holders and their goods, it’s a changing line-up. Yesterday the guests were an accomplished second cava (bottom left) and an energetic young woodwind player (left, on clarinet).
The Praça is also home to a pocket theatre, upstairs in the café / bookshop / gallery / publishing house run by the writer Alberico Rodrigues.
It’s a pleasant place to take a break from the crush, at the foot of a wall display of literary giants.
The carefully constructed cultural eco-system in which market traders do business alongside writers, antique and repro rub shoulders cheerfully, excellent carpets hang alongside copies of copies of graphic art, and chorinho can be enjoyed within earshot of jump blues, is a delight.
As are the customers themselves – did I mention it’s a great place for people-watching? Not just at Christmas, but all year round.