Napa’s Denina Fredrickson goes antique hunting every year in northern Italy, and now her treasures can become yours at VINTAGE Italy inside Antiques on Second in downtown Napa.
Open in August of 2017, Fredrickson’s ever-changing inventory includes luxurious textiles and gilded Florentine pieces to vintage gas station signs, jewelry, barware, religious icons, toys, old-world kitchen tools and a lot more.
“I have a niche; it’s pieces that are Italian or that have some Italian connection, and I bring everything back here from our annual summer trips to our home on Lake Garda, Italy,” said Fredrickson who is of Italian descent.
A lot of antiques come from the Lombardy area but also from Piedmont, Italy she says.
“There’s a lot of German influence in that area, so there are a lot of Tyrolean antiques as well. I am just looking for things that are unique. What I bring back you can’t easily find here, these are not the things that are typically exported from Italy. It makes for a richer item.”
Fredrickson says she brings back hundreds of items from her annual trips: “I shipped close to 2,000 pounds of pieces the last time I was there. They know me in our little town, so people are contacting to me to unload their antiques because Italians don’t like old stuff,” she chuckled.
Antique can mean things that are only 20 to 50 years old, but also items from the 1800s, Fredrickson noted.
“The religious icons tend to be older and they are hard to find, but they are attainable. I do well with those because they are very unique.”
She said items can range from inexpensive to hundreds of dollars.
“I have a bit of a local following here; owners of Italian restaurants and locals of Italian descent, and then there are a lot of tourists who are buying smaller items. There are days we have hundreds of visitors coming through our store,” she said.
“It’s been a good thing,” Fredrickson said, “because I can do things in a smaller way than if I had my own shop. I like the format at Antiques on Second. I didn’t know what to expect, but this is my saving grace because I can be creative and have I love looking for unique and unusual items. I’ve been collecting for years and years, and I had been playing around with this idea for a long time.”
Being of Italian descent, the business is a natural for her. “I am deeply rooted in my heritage,” she said. “And now I’m doing something I love.”
Not only does she spend part of every year antique hunting in Italy, she has a masters degree in historic preservation and an interior design background, and attended the University of Florence in the early 1980s.
From 1994 to 2004, she owned and operated a successful Italian artisanal store on the Peninsula that featured new Italian products.
VINTAGE Italy is located in the Antiques on Second complex at 1370 Second St. in Napa.
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