One of the joys of living in Italy is eating. Ask any local or expat and a big part of their day revolves around food. Florence has many places to enjoy the best seasonal food and the latest addition to San Lorenzo's Il Mercato Centrale will have any foodie heading to the space upon opening hour.
For years the upstairs area of the nineteenth century building lay dormant, eager for a reinvention. This year the building celebrated its 140th birthday having been opened in 1874 and designed by renowned architect, Giuseppe Mengoni, who also designed the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan.
From 23 April 2014, the new dining room is here. A sun drenched glass house with exposed iron metal beams and modern, oversized light fittings to fill the ceiling space. It's bright, contemporary and without any Italian design cliches - there are no checkered table cloths here - rather communal tables to share with friends (new or old) and counter after counter of food stalls offering Italian tastes to savour.
SUD create perfect southern-style pizza with chewy base and dripping in creamy mozzarella. With only four pizzas to choose from, they are serious about quality ingredients, the less is more approach which characterises Italian cuisine. TOSCA is a trattoria-style affair: sit at the long gallery table to watch the chefs, all decked in whites including tall chef hats, prepare fresh pasta, meats dishes and dolce (sweet dishes) to devour. If cheese is your weakness, FRANCO PAROLA will excite, offering hundreds of creamy treats to choose from plus a side window to watch cheesemongers at work, creating silky burrata which almost melts in your mouth.
The food stalls compliment one another covering products from bread, meats, cheese, chocolate, gelato, fresh gnocchi, seafood and fried rissoles. Plus a Chianti wine bar, Eataly store for take home products and a cooking school run by Scuola Lorenzo di' Medici. Small independent shops run by artisan makers passionate about Italy and their products.
Open daily from 10am until midnight it’s a worthy stop on your eating adventures in Florence. If arriving before 2pm, don’t forget to peruse the downstairs market with stalls selling fresh produce to hungry locals and neighbouring restaurants. It has a number of stores to sample olive oil, balsamic vinegar, pesto, wines and more.
So if feeling hungry, go seek! Preferably with a rather large appetite, you won’t be disappointed. Buon appetio!
Piazza del Mercato Centrale
Daily 10:00 - 00:00