Mercato Centrale - Central Market
(Italian pronunciation: mehr-kah-toh   chen-trahl-ay)

The Central Market in Florence seems like an indoor extension of the bustling outdoor market that extends for blocks from San Lorenzo.  The entire atmosphere feels like stepping into another, much older generation.  The best food market in Florence is housed inside a large two-story building designed in the 19th century by Giuseppe Mengoni.  The building is massive with relatively modern looking green and red brick, glass and iron exterior and just looms out of the bancarelle (stalls) crowded streets.

Once inside it is all about the assault on the senses. Upstairs are the vegetable and fruit vendors.  Downstairs are the meat and fish vendors and the gastronomia - food specialty stores (what we think of as an Italian delicatessen). Here you will find lots of things you will not see in Safeway at home.

Italians believe every bit of the animal should be used and have no problem with displaying animals with their heads still intact or rabbit with the fur still on - in fact, they insist that at least one paw be intact to make sure the carcass is not a cat.

If you are in the area at lunchtime, you can try one of the already prepared Tuscan take-out foods. One can purchase fresh fruit and vegetables as well as dried fruit, nuts, honey, homemade pasta, wine, herbs, and other produce.

Pasta Shop