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When: Sundays; stallholders’ hours vary but a morning visit will real rewards.

Cinephiles will remember the Porta Portese fleamarket, in the Trastevere quarter, from the scene in the 1948 Vittorio de Sica classic The Bicycle Thief in which a father trawls the stalls with his son in search of the woebegone little boy’s stolen bicycle. You will need to be vigilant to ensure your possessions do not travel in the opposite direction, as Rome’s smoothest mani di velluto (“velvet hands”: pickpockets) patrol the market at peaktimes. The profusion of stands offering cheap imported clothing have, in recent years, swelled what was already an enormous market, but the rumoured good news is that the Rome authorities intend to whittle Porta Portese back to 500 stalls selling old furniture, antiques, used household items, secondhand books and the like - the stuff, in other words, of fleamarkets.

Best buys: Documents unearthed at Porta Portese in 2000 - typewritten summaries of allied radio broadcasts - were scandalous proof that Pope (not very) Pius XII had, contrary to the official account, received regular wartime reports about Nazi atrocities against the Jews. When not stumbling upon explosive pieces of historical evidence, Romans go to Porta Portese in search of things they would never find elsewhere: a near exact replacement for some missing crockery, a wind-up radio crank, that perfect antique brass doorknocker.