Two years ago the renewed upper level of Florence’s Mercato Centrale has reopened to the public. 140 years after the original glass and cast iron structure was built (1874), the elegant building has been completely renovated.
The ground floor is still occupied by the traditional food market, while the first floor is an impressive multifunctional space (3000 square mts), open seven days a week from 10 am to midnight, where it is possible to find small shops of traditional local quality food products (bread and baguette, cheese, ice-cream, chocolate and pastry, handmade pasta, meat and cold cuts, fresh fish, fried food and even the real buffalo mozzarella), together with a restaurant, a pizzeria, a café, a lounge bar and various food stalls where you can buy specialties to eat there. One significant area is the wine shop of the Chianti Classico Consortium, with a choice of 1200 labels to be tasted and sold every day.
Then you find the space dedicated to spread the food and wine culture to the public: a cooking academy organized by the Lorenzo de’ Medici Institute, a wine school managed by Luca Gardini (awarded as the best world sommelier in 2004) and also an area dedicated to Eataly, the great competitor but also a great
synergy. Besides there is a shop dedicated to the Florence football team where the colour violet dominates, and a book shop. Last but not least, for those who wish to have the food delivered at home, there is a delivery company, environmentally friendly for the packaging and the means used to bring around the
There are a number of reasons to appreciate this initiative. One being that they are finally revamping this area of the town close to the train station, definitely a bit abandoned during the last years, to make it an even more attractive area for tourists and locals alike. But it was especially an effort to restore the once-
central role of the traditional San Lorenzo food market, where it’s still possible to find plenty of fresh produce, meats, fish & cheese. All this steps are contributing to consolidate Florence as a real gourmet city, the ideal place for people who always look for top quality food and excellent wines.
Credits V. Pianese - Ph. A. Suman