If you really want to know the real and authentic atmosphere of Florence and venture off the beaten path, you have to visit the food markets of the city. Food markets give you the chanche to be part of the daily life of a place with its smell and colors, but they also drive you to taste and enjoy the traditional food of the city.
In the very past Florence food market was in Piazza della Repubblica. During the 19th century the city was modernized and the commercial activities moved outside of the city and the food market in Repubblica Square was destroyed. In the meantime, new projects came out such as the construction of Central Market in Piazza San Lorenzo and Sant’Ambrogio Market.
So, If you want to visit the best food markets in Florence, you definitely have to go to Mercato Centrale and Sant’Ambrogio Market.
The fascinating Mercato Centrale designed by Giuseppe Mengoni- an architect who designed also the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – and built between 1870-74 is located in a modern cast-iron building. It is located in Piazza San Lorenzo and it is a recall to the European architecture.
Nowadays the central market is a place where tradition merge with daily present, is a mix of rural and modern.
It is divided in two floors, and it is completely dedicated to food, so if you are a food lover you must visit it.
At the ground floor you will find butchers, fishmongers, greengrocers and small shops that sell local products like cheeses, extravergin olive oil, sundried tomatoes etc. Here you can also see and taste something very special, like the famous sandwich with lampredotto ( a sandwich stuffed with the stomach of the cow), it is really a must-try.
The first floor is the center of the Italian culinary tradition and it hosts several Italian restaurants (not just from Tuscany). The artisans allow you to see how the food is made so that you can understand how they produce the famous Italian delicacies like mozzarella, pizza and a lot more.
It is a place that have to be lived, where food become art through artisans work.
It is open everyday from 8 am to 12 am.
If you want to step outside of the touristic routes, you have to visit Sant’Ambrogio Market. Less
crowded than San Lorenzo Market, it offers a real example of Florence daily life. It is located in Piazza Ghiberti and in the square you can find stands with clothes vendors, but the place where you can find fresh products and taste some local food at good prices it is inside of the building.
The market offers several stands that sell products like meat, vegetables, and it also includes a very famous restaurant, Trattoria da Rocco, which serves local food that it is a feast for your sense.
If you want to enjoy the traditional atmosphere of Florence and if you want to try the delicacies that this region has to offer, you have to visit this market.
Sant’Ambrogio market is open from Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 14 pm.
According to my experience those are the best food markets in Florence, by the way if you want to discover more of the traditional food of the city, you can join us to our Food tour in Florence.