The renovated Central Market (Mercato Centrale) is a trendy gastronomic mecca in the heart of Florence. On the ground floor, you’ll find 19th-century architecture and traditional food stalls; upstairs, there’s an urban food court featuring more than a dozen stands and shops, as well as a cooking school.
Florence’s Central Market, the largest of its kind in the city, has been located in its soaring cast-iron-and-glass pavilion for more than a century. The ground-floor indoor market is crowded with stalls selling gourmet specialties from Tuscany and beyond, including fresh fruit and vegetables, buffalo mozzarella, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Chianti wine. The second floor has been reworked into a chic food court offering freshly prepared Florentine classics served street-food style—everything from fresh pasta with truffles to hamburgers made with heirloom beef.
A stroll through the market is a highlight of any food walking tour in Florence. Some tours include stops to snack along the way, as well as cooking lessons in the school upstairs.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Lovers of Italian food will particularly enjoy touring the market—it’s the perfect place to try Florentine classics like ribollita, lampredotto, and bistecca alla fiorentina.
- The upstairs area has an excellent wine shop that can ship anywhere in the world, a bookstore, and a workshop that hosts wine tastings and cooking demonstrations.
- The downstairs stalls are a great place to snag ingredients, either for an impromptu picnic or for souvenirs.
- There are ramps and an elevator to access both the upper and lower floors of the market.
How to Get There
The market is located in Piazza del Mercato Centrale in the San Lorenzo district, a short walk from the Florence train station.
When to Get There
The ground-floor stalls are open each morning Monday to Saturday, while the upper-floor food court is open daily from 10am to midnight, making it convenient for snacks or meals. Upstairs can get very crowded at mealtimes (1 to 3pm and 7 to 9pm), so it's best to wander through and sample the Tuscan goods at off-hours.
Visiting Another Florentine Market
Just outside the Central Market, the San Lorenzo Market (Mercato di San Lorenzo) is known as the best place in the city to find inexpensive leather goods.