Go on a sensory adventure at Mercato Centrale Firenze
The local market to visit in Florence
· 3 min read
If you are a foodie, visiting local markets are probably always on your itinerary when you travel. Local markets are not only great for trying delicious local street food, it is also a place where you find hidden gems and artisanal products. If you have the chance to visit Florence, Italy, then you definitely cannot miss visiting Mercato Centrale Firenze.
Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 50123 Florence, Italy
- By Train: Mercato Centrale Firenze is conveniently located near the Santa Maria Novella train station, making it easily accessible by train from various Italian cities.
- By Foot: If you're staying in the historic center of Florence, you can reach the market on foot in just a few minutes.
- By Bus: Many bus lines connect to the market area, so you can easily use public transportation. You can take the following buses: 1, 6, 11, 12, 14, 17, 20, 22, 23, 36, 37, C2, C4
- By Tram: You can take the tram lines T1 – Leonardo “Villa Costanza – Careggi Ospedale” or Tramline T2 – Vespucci – Unità – Aeroporto Peretola.
What to See and Do
To accommodate the growing population in Florence, the Mercato Centrale Firenze has undergone multiple rounds of renovations and adjustments. In 2014, the market as we see it now was revealed. The market can be split into three main areas:
- The Outdoor Market: Outside the market, you will be able to see various stalls, with a majority of them selling handcrafted leather goods. If you are looking for small purses, handmade bags, or handcrafted ornaments to bring back as souvenir, this is a good area to look.
- Ground Floor: The ground floor is where you can find fresh local produce. One of the must-try dishes is the the Lampredotto (beef stomach sandwich), a local specialty.
- Second Floor: On the second floor is a dining area, with a variety of international cuisine that you can choose from.
Find cheap gems at the outdoor market
As you explore the outdoor market, you will be able to find a street that sells a lot of leather goods. While these items cannot be compared to the luxurious designer brands that you can find in Italy, you might be able to find some rather good steals and at much more affordable prices. Bargaining is also allowed at the outdoor markets, so don't be shy to haggle for a lower price!
At the corner of the outdoor market, there is also an assuming food truck that sells lampredotto, and is highly recommended by many who have tried it.
Hours: 9am - 8pm
Exploring the food market
The ground floor of Mercato Centrale Firenze is a sensory delight. Wander through the stalls to discover the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, and other local products. While most of the stalls on the first floor sell raw meat (which we understand might not be the most logical thing to buy when you're on holiday), there are also opportunities for you to have a ham and cheese platter alongside a glass of red wine! There are a few vendors that actually offer such an option, and is definitely a good way of enjoying the market. You can also find authentic Tuscan cuisine at various stalls, including the very popular Da Nerbone.
Hours: 7am - 3pm on weekdays; 7am - 5pm on weekends
Find international cuisine at the dining area
Head upstairs to the first floor, where you'll find a spacious dining area with 25 stalls selling a variety of food at affordable prices, and you will definitely be able to find something that fits your palate. The seating here is communal, and is a perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely meal with friends or family. Some of the more famous stalls include Martina Brilli e Gabrio Scaranari and Carmelo Pannocchietti. Don't forget to also head to IL TARTUFO to try the gelato!
Hours: 10am - 12mn
Tips for Visiting
- Go Early: To avoid the crowds, consider visiting the market in the morning or on weekdays.
- Cash and Cards: Most vendors accept both cash and credit cards, but it's a good idea to have some cash on hand for smaller purchases.
- Bring an Appetite: Come hungry, as you'll want to sample a variety of dishes.
- Respect the Hours: Keep in mind that some vendors may close for a short break during the day.
- Be Open to Exploration: Part of the charm of Mercato Centrale Firenze is the spontaneity of discovery. Don't be afraid to try something new!