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Mercato di San Lorenzo

text Martina Olivieri

May 13, 2024

The historic markets of Florence

Everything you don't know about the San Lorenzo Central Market and the Sant'Ambrogio Market

Markets are focal points of a city, they express its authenticity and are comparable to its monuments, historical buildings and places of worship. In Florence there are two historic markets, the Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo and the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio, which combine the traditional charm of markets with the prestige and historical value of the buildings that house them.

Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo

With the growth of the population and the destruction of the Mercato Vecchio in the second half of the 19th century to make room for the new Piazza della Repubblica, the market at the Loggia del Porcellino was no longer sufficient for the city and three new covered spaces were planned: the Mercato di San Lorenzo, the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio and a third market at San Frediano, the latter demolished in 1915.

Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo

The Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo, located in the heart of the historical centre near the basilica of San Lorenzo, is still one of the city's most famous and lively food markets. Its construction dates back to the period between 1870 and 1874, when Florence was the capital of Italy. The building, designed by architect Giuseppe Mengoni, is an imposing iron and glass structure that reflects the architectural style of the time. The market is dedicated entirely to food and offers a wide range of fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, cold cuts and typical Tuscan products. The stalls on the ground floor are reserved for retail, while on the first floor are shops, restaurants and cafés, offering a variety of traditional and innovative Italian dishes. These include Joe Bastianich's hamburgers at Joe's American BBQ, Bambi Trippa e Lampredotto's lampredotto and Ditta Artigianale's coffee and brunch dishes.

Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio

In Piazza Ghiberti we then find the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio, designed by architect Giuseppe Mengoni in 1873. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 7 am to 2 pm. Under the external canopies, added later, are stalls selling fruit and vegetables, clothing, household goods, plants and flowers. Inside the building are food stalls. Don't miss the burgers and tartares of the Luca Menoni RistoMacelleria, prepared with the same raw materials available and sold at the counter, and the Nuova Valdarno Carni, for top-quality meats and cold cuts and semi-prepared specialities simply to be cooked. The structure recalls, albeit in a reduced key, that of the Mercato Centrale, and here too you will find trattorias and shops perfect for a typical and informal lunch such as the famous Trattoria Rocco. There is also an underground car park.

Valdarno Carni

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