Last April 23, the upper floor of Florence’s Mercato Centrale (Central Market) reopened, just in time to honor the 140 years since its long-ago opening in 1874.
Once a fruit and vegetable market (now on the ground floor), the first floor has been closed for several years and is now reopening with a spruced-up, modern look and a variety of food stands and shops.
Made curious by its newness, on Friday evening I decided to spend the evening there with my boyfriend and a couple of friends, look around and maybe have a bite to eat.
From the outside, the building is already impressive. They say its architect was inspired by Paris’ Les Halles. Quite a remarkable achievement!
Once inside, we were even more impressed. The space is vast and brightly lit with enormous lamps hanging from the ceiling.
As it was Friday evening, it was so crowded that it was hard to walk. We started to roam about to find something the please our palates.
There was a mind-boggling array of choices, including fresh pasta, meat, cold cuts, fresh mozzarella made on site, lampredotto (a famous Florentine dish made from cow stomach), fresh fish, bread and pastries, pizza and a great assortment of cheese.
We ended up being wooed by the fresh pasta stand (I got a fabulous pasta with tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella) and the one where they made (delicious) mozzarella!
The servings were generous and the prices reasonable (a dish of pasta for €6.00 to €9.00 and a plate of different types of mozzarella was €12.00).
In addition to food stands, there is the not-to-be-missed Fiorentina Point, a small branch of Eataly, the “Lorenzo De’ Medici” cooking school (a great “Masterchef” style classroom for the school’s students, as well as classes open to the public from Friday to Sunday), a cafe in the middle of the hall and a stand for tasting Chianti Classico.
It’s a nice place for a dinner with friends (or a lunch for that matter; it’s open from 10 am to midnight). Of course, if you don’t like crowds (like me), don’t go on Friday or Saturday evenings!
Mercato Centrale Firenze
Piazza del Mercato Centrale – Via dell’Ariento 50123 Firenze
10 am – 12 am
English translation by Miriam Hurley