Foodies (and those simply interested in local color and a good meal) should head to San Lorenzo and its covered Mercato Centrale. Florence’s main market for edibles is housed in a 19th-century glass-and-iron building. On the ground floor, delis, stands, and butcher counters sell a fantastic array of local fruit and vegetables, cheeses, dried porcini mushrooms, baked goods, balsamic vinegars, and olive oils plus fresh fish, poultry, and meat. Upstairs, a modern food hall has opened: Stalls sell prepared foods and meals for happy and immediate consumption at a central seating area.
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A Feast for the Senses at Mercato Centrale in Florence, Italy
Tuscany is deeply connected to the land—the crops that grow here, from fruit and vegetables to olives and wine grapes, are central to Tuscan cuisine. Mercato Centrale, housed in the original 1874 market building, is a working showcase for Tuscany’s food products (and for the Italian knack for stunning displays). Walk the aisles and admire the stalls and shops, purchase dried pastas, olive oils, 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. Upstairs, a market-driven food court with with stalls and bars selling prepared foods surrounds an open seating area.
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 upper floor of Florence’s magnificent 1874 iron and glass market building has been converted into an Italian-style food court, providing a showcase for producers and a buzzy, affordable eating and drinking venue that is open daily from 10 a.m.-midnight. Stands around the huge central seating area sell everything from fresh pasta, just-made mozzarella, healthy soups, juices, burgers and French fries, barbecued ribs, and great pizza. Diners choose and pay for food, grab a drink from one of the bars, and then find a seat. There's often live music 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.