Florence, like most Italian cities, is a haven for fresh and delicious food. Walking the streets and alleys, green markets are as proliferate as Starbucks in North America. Filled with the freshest, in-season produce, and all quite affordable, there is no excuse not to eat your veggies.
With so many markets to choose from, people will usually have a favourite and frequent it for most of their supplies. The Mercato Centrale, with its beautifully laid out stalls on the main floor and food court on the mezzanine, can get quite busy and can be more expensive than smaller markets.
The Mercato delle Cascine is a weekly market held along the Arno River in Parco delle Cascine. It’s quite an elaborate market spanning a kilometre with everything from cheese, eggs and veggies to socks, clothes, toys and live birds. There are also several food stalls with some of the best porchetta sandwiches we’ve ever tasted.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio is smaller than the Mercato Centrale but has a great selection and a wonderful trattoria where the doors open directly onto the tables, you will see people waiting by the doors and then slipping into their seats while servers walk up and down the middle aisle delivering typical dishes of the area.
Florence doesn’t have food trucks per se but you can find carts selling Florentine specialties like Lampredotto sandwiches which are made with the 4th stomach of the cow, simmered in stock until tender. The meat is sliced thin and piled high on a bun. A salsa verde of capers, parsley, boiled egg, bread soaked in vinegar, garlic and olive oil is then spooned over top. You can also ask for the bun to be dipped in the cooking liquid to make it moist and tasty. A lot of these stalls also offer tripe sandwiches which are similar.