A Feast for the Senses at Mercato Centrale in Florence, Italy
Tuscany is an area with a deep connection to its land—the crops that grow here, from fruit and vegetables to olives and wine grapes, are central to Tuscan food. Mercato Centrale, housed inside the original market building from the 1870s, is a showcase of Tuscany’s food products and the Italian sensibility for beautiful displays. You can walk around and admire the displays and shops, purchase beautiful pastas or other food items as gifts, stock up on wine or picnic supplies, try salads or spreads for bread, and eat fresh sandwiches or baked goods.
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.
Food shopping at San Lorenzo market
Foodies should head over to San Lorenzo and the covered mercato centrale, Florence’s main food market housed in a 19th century glass and iron building. On the bottom floor you will find delis selling a fabulous array of cheeses, meats, dried porcini mushrooms, balsamic vinegars and olive oils plus fish, poultry and butcher’s shops while upstairs, stalls are piled with multi-coloured seasonal fruit and veg.
They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, that goes for this adventurer as well. Last month, I was able to feast my eyes (and stomach) on Florence, Italy. Yes, I did climb the Duomo. Also, I admired the details of the grand feat of David, which was much larger than I expected. And, I purchased a small silver charm to add to my necklace of the Fleur de Lis on the Ponte Vecchio. However, none of those places were my favorite sight in Florence. I fell in love with the Mercato Centrale.
All under one roof are butchers, cheesemongers, bakeries, gelaterias, wine markets, and countless restaurants with open kitchens serving Tuscan favorites. Of the multiple days that I stayed in Florence, I did stop for an intimate trattoria experience, but the rest of my meals were at the Mercato Centrale people watching and wishing that I had a bigger stomach or better said more stomachs like a cow.
See my full post and pictures of Eataly - Culinary Travel to Florence, Italy on Ms Traveling Pants
The conversion of the upper floor of Florence’s magnificent 1874 iron and glass market building into an Italian-style food court provides a showcase for producers and a buzzy, affordable eating and drinking venue that is open daily from 10am-midnight. Be tempted by stands selling everything from fresh pasta, freshly-made mozzarella, healthy soups and juices, burgers and French fries, barbequed ribs and great pizza enclose a huge central seating area: you choose and pay for your food, grab a drink from one of the bars and sit where there’s a space. Look out for the regular live music sessions in the evenings.
The top floor of Florence’s main produce market has been converted into a colorful food hall where you can eat, drink and shop. The array of food on offer at the many stands is appetite-inducing: Prepare to be tempted by freshly made mozzarella, chargrilled burgers, artisanal breads, fresh truffles, fried fish and one of the best pizzas in town.