Food markets in Florence come in all shapes and sizes, from modern mega-grocery chains to corner shops without regular inventory. Depending on the location of your long term rentals inFlorence, two of the oldest marketplaces in Florence are worthy of your time, for they are spectacular introductions to the city’s culture of cuisine.
Mercato San Lorenzo
Mercato San Lorenzo is two distinct marketplaces. The outdoor market stalls boast leather wallets, bags, belts and coats, some of the most popular souvenirs of any Florentine excursion. If leather is out of your price range, there are plenty of inexpensive gifts like bracelets and pottery. The outdoor market is open from Tuesday through Saturday.
Within the indoor Central Market, there are two food-focused levels. Downstairs is the place to buy fruits, vegetables, fish and meat, as well as olive oil and specialty items. Most vendors speak English and are accustomed to foreign tourists. The downstairs marketplace closes on Sundays and holidays.
The newly reopened upstairs level of the Central Market is open everyday, from 10:00 a.m to midnight, and is the place to sit, sip, sup and watch the world pass by. Restaurants and shops sell items to take home. Representatives from the Chianti Classico Consortium who will arrange for international shipments of the wines you sample at their kiosk. It is also a rich cultural experience to learn how items such as bufala mozzarella are produced. It is easy to spend time and money at the Mercato San Lorenzo, and several hours may pass in the blink of an eye.
Since 1873, the Sant’Ambrogio market has stood in the Piazza Ghiberti, offering fresh produce and inexpensive clothing to Florentine citizens and visitors. This indoor/outdoor marketplace is a short 10-minute walk from the Duomo, but the distance makes a world of difference in the atmosphere of this market compared to the Mercato Centrale described above. It is far less touristic, offering perhaps a more authentic Florentine market experience for those willing to walk a bit further away from Santa Croce.
The goods on display at Sant’Ambrogio include farm-fresh produce, breads and sweets just out of the oven. Vendors are always selling dried legumes and specialty seasonal items, like truffles. In the indoor section of the market, you will find flavorful cheeses, fresh fish and meats from area butcheries. In short: this market offers everything you need to experiment with a new Tuscan recipe in the kitchen of your FlorenceItaly apartments.
Inexpensive clothing and housewares are also sold at the market. However, due to its more obscure nature, English is not always spoken by the vendors of Sant’Ambrogio. This makes it an ideal place to practice your Italian vocabulary. You will feel like a local when you use your hands to express your needs and appreciation! The market is open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday; vendors extend their hours twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, until 7:00 p.m.