Results 1-6of 6 Reviews
St. Augustine, Florida
October 7, 2009
From journal Off to the Market in Florence
August 26, 2007
From journal 3 Nights in Fabulous Florence
October 30, 2001
There are some bargains to be had here, but you would serve yourself well to check out all the purveyors of whatever item you're looking for, then go back to the one that offers the best deal. Our main shopping expedition involved olive oil and wine, and we found one vendor who offered substantially better deals than his competitors.
Mercato Centrale is also a great place to grab a quick lunch at a bargain price. One day we picked up a small sandwich, bread, and fresh fruit, enough to satisfy both of us for less than ITL10,000 ($5). We also came here to start off each day with our morning cappucinos, a raging bargain at ITL1,300 ($.65).
A word of advice: don't pick up any items, especially fresh produce, yourself. You can point out your seletions to the vendor, or allow the vendor to pick them for you. The photo of my girlfriend displaying one of the mushrooms for sale was snapped about a nano-second before she was scolded by the merchant.
The market is open from 7:00am - 2:00pm daily, closed Sundays.
From journal Florence in October
Brooklyn, New York
September 17, 2001
Italians aren’t afraid of meat and no part of the animal is wasted. Besides the usual sausage, steak, chop and filet you’ll find specialties that are not for the faint of heart. Tripe, the white intestines of cow, and skinned rabbits with their head and eyes intact lay beside whole chicken, hen, large chunks of beef, pigs feet, cow tongue, liver, boar, and stomach. Down south, horsemeat is also eaten but here in Florence, that didn’t seem to be as popular.
Upstairs you can smell bunches of freshly cut basil, oregano and sage without even bending down near to them. Heavy bunches of green and purple grapes, tiny strawberries and blueberries, oversized pumpkin and squash, green and black olives, dried fruits and nuts and endless other bright colors and earthy smells fill the air. The vendors know each fruit and vegetable intimately so don’t be afraid to ask which ones are sweet or bitter, hard or soft and what region it was plucked from.
TIP: Don’t handle the fruit or vegetables. Just tell the vendor what you want and trust his judgement.
The Mercato Centrale is great for picnics, photos and meeting the locals. Bring plenty of small bills, as you are sure to be tempted by some of the freshest meat and produce around.
From journal Pasta and Pesce in Florence
June 25, 2001
Trying to negotiate a lower price is the expectation and is part of the fun. Be sure and wander around for awhile before you make your purchases. If you go back to a booth they will remember that you walked away once and won’t want to let it happen again. I had a lot of fun with the vendors and also just looking at all the things they had to offer.
As you are looking around, don’t forget to look for the bronze pig statue. It is supposed to bring you good luck to rub its nose. I rubbed it and I will have to say I feel like a pretty lucky person.
From journal My Favorite City in Italy
November 22, 2000
From journal Italy: Living in Firenze