I spotted it almost as I walked in the door of a little boutique in Testaccio markets here in Rome. The end of June will be the last for the markets in its current position. After 98 years, the markets are moving to some bright, white shiny building near the Church in Testaccio (Santa Maria Liberatrice a Monte Testaccio Church).

The boutique has all sorts of really interesting clothes and accessories. Italian-made; Italian quality. And because it was the last weekend before the big move, it was sale time. There was a whole rack of clothes selling for Euro 8.00. But I’d already spotted my quarry.

I decided to act cool and look interested in some skirt on a rack. Then I made my way towards another item I’d spotted – knowing full well it was vintage. A wine-coloured leather bag. Looked to be 1950s. The sales lady came up to me and spoke enough English to say there were other vintage handbags in some box. She brought the box over; I pretended to rummage around; took out a couple of bags and feigned interest. I put them back, then wafted off to the other side of the shop and picked up my real target.

I’ll pause at this point in the story. I have a collection of vintage handbags. Not a large collection; probably about six handbags, mainly from the 1950s and 1970s. I’ll dig them out when I get back to NZ in July and do a post to show you. I wear each of these bags from time to time. Not so much now that I live on a farm with horses, goats, dogs and cows. Oh and chickens.

But I know a good vintage when I see one. My quarry was definitely from the 1970s – the shape, size and colour gave that away, plus the clasp. I tested out the shop owner (who didn’t speak English) by asking the sales lady to ask the owner about the provenance. Bingo: 1970s Italian.

She said it was Euro 25.00. My Kiwi friend who has been visiting Rome was oohing and aahing over a skirt. That gave me time to inspect the bag and look as though I was going to decline it. On the whole, the bag is in very good condition but the zipper on the inside is a bit stiff and there are a couple of places where the leather has worn away.

I went into battle. Well, offered Euro 15.00 and managed to stitch up the deal at 18.00 (or around NZ $29.00) after hearing the story of how the vintage bag came from Florence and that time and money was spent searching for vintage bags by the shop owner blah blah.

The is one vintage bag I’ll soooooooooooooo be using. I can shorten the strap and sling it over the wrist or wear it a little longer over the shoulder. It just reminds me of the handbags Charlie’s Angels gals used to wear on that 1970s series. Some 70s bags were very thin with a long shoulder strap. I never quite figured out how gals used to get lippies and makeup in them. Burgundy leather was also a popular colour back then and my new vintage 70s bag is in this lovely shade.

I was contemplating purchasing a handmade Carlo Cecchini handbag in soft buttery leather. This would have set me back Euro 139.00 or NZ $225.00 at current exchange rates. And this bag is one of the smaller ones. But now that I’ve bought this gorgeous little 1970’s number – that’s it for handbags. No Carlo Cecchini for me.

Now, I just have to track down a vintage Glomesh 1970s bag (I have a coin purse already) and a tooled leather 1970s handbag.

Vintage 1970’s Italian leather handbag. A lovely shape and a gorgeous rich burgundy colour.

Loving the clasp.

You can just see my fav House of Harlow 1960 Aztec bangle in this shot.

It’s showing some signs of wear and tear at the bottom. But it’s still in great condition overall.

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