Mercado Centrale in Florence

June 23, 2019

7  comments

A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

Thanks to all of you who have sent a quick note to let me know of great places you recommend in Italy. I’m still here and am actually getting homesick for Alabama. Imagine that!

One place Bob and I knew we wanted to revisit from a previous trip was Mercato Centrale in Florence. The San Lorenzo Market surrounds the outside area with various vendors selling leather goods and trinkets. This area is fun, but wasn’t really the big draw this time, Instead, we were in search of something specific on the inside of the building.

A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

The Mercado Centrale is indoors and houses two floors of everything good to eat you can possibly imagine. The first floor vendors specialize in all Italian foods like bread, cheese, fresh vegetables and fruits, wine, dried herbs and special cuts of meat. If we had planned on cooking, it would have been a dreamy place to shop.

Pasta pomodore e basil - A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

Some foods like salads and pasta dishes are already prepared and ready to take home. Some food can be sealed for travel, but we were here during the first part of our trip, so there was no way to keep it fresh.

A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.
Plenty for all.

A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

The original building was errected in 1874 (when Florence was the capitol of Italy) and the current market was opened in 2014.

The downstairs market closes at 2pm Monday – Friday and 5pm Saturdays. It is closed on Sundays and holidays, so be sure to check before you go.

A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

After touring the first floor, the real treat is on the second floor where you find all sorts of Italian specialties being cooked and served in a large open room that seats approximately 500 people.

A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

Even sushi, which has obviously become a world-wide favorite is prepared fresh to your specific order. Here, the chef produces asian style dumplings or their version of ravioli.

Truffle plate - A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

Truffle plates featuring local truffles, salamis and cheeses are popular. Il Tartufo is the restaurant that specialized in all things truffle related, and it’s where I found one of the best dishes of my entire trip.

Carbonara al Tartufo Nero - A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

Carbonara al Tartufo Nero — or Carbonara with black truffles. It was so amazingly delicious. I could eat it every day for the rest of my life — but then I’d have to roll myself everywhere.

Florentine steak - A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

But this is what we really came for, a Florentine steak from Tosca. We’d had a steak here a few years ago when we traveled with our boys, and it was the best steak we’ve ever had. Of course, since I’d already had the pasta (I couldn’t resist) I only tasted a bite or two of Bob’s and it was still the #1 steak I’ve ever had . . . in my life.

Happiness.

And no, we didn’t eat dinner that night because we were so full from this incredible lunch! We also walked about 8 miles that day, so we didn’t feel too guilty!

A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.

There is also a cooking school in the market, which insures there will be plenty of new chefs who continue the culinary traditions of Florence, Italy.

Seafood cones - A visit to the Mercato Centrale and San Lorenzo Market is a must for Italian food lovers visiting Florence Italy.
Cones of fried fresh seafood are popular.

Are you craving Italian food now? I’ll be home soon with a few authentic recipes I’ve picked up while here. Anyone for real Bolognese? Stay tuned!

Click to see my story on what to wear in Italy

Leave a Reply

  1. Ms. Leslie, thank you for including us as you enjoy the real deal in Italy!

    Have never been, but still would love to go where the people are friendly, and the food fantastic!

    Missing your Sunday column! But enjoying your trip adventures!!!

    1. Thank you Arlene. You’d love it here for sure. It’s very much like the South with exactly what you described, friendly people and fantastic food.

      If you missed my column, please let the paper know you did. You can email David Holloway and KA Turner at: dholloway@al.com,katurner@advancelocal.com Thank you!

  2. How wonderful you’ve traveled to Italy again. So much to see and never enough time. I love visiting favorite places I discovered previously, like great places to eat. Yes, I’m craving eggplant parmigiana now! Have fun, safe travels……..

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