Mercato Centrale, Florence
There is a fresh pasta shop in the Mercato Centrale. It is to die for. We've got these spinach and ricotta ravioli twice and there is nothing better. They also have homemade sauses and cut their fresh egg pastas as you order it. They have a preperation room which is open by windows to the public eye and you can see the whole production taking place. We had a great time watching them make the ravioli. The price is fairly resonable. If you go on Tuesday they have a special price on the ravioli for almost half the price. Granted you have to have a place to cook them but if you are staying in a hostel or appartment it works out great.
What to pay: 1 kg is about 7-8 euros (the picture shows about 1/3 kilo). On Tuesday get the ravioli for 5 euros a kg. This even rivals the supermarket price for the prepacked assortments which go for around 8 euros a kg and are not that flavorful.
Mercato Centrale is a fabulous 19th century covered market.
You can come here to pick up ingredients for a cheap lunch, a meal or just a browse through the colourful fresh produce.
We were particularly intrigued by some of the items on offer in the meat section.....not the kind of things you see at Tesco!!
What to buy: The fruit and veg all looks delicious.
This is just one of the many different gourmet shops located in the ground floor of the Mercato Centrale near the San Lorenzo Market. I always come here before going home to pick up some olive oil and a bottle of balsalmic vinegar.
What to buy: Hundreds of types of meats and cheeses. Different types of Olive Oil and Vinegars. Truffle Oil. "Food Souviners"
What to pay: Tourist prices, but still less than back home.
Staying in the San Lorenzo area for my friends wedding meant that we were a short walk away from the Mercato Centrale. We made good use of this every morning! With meats, cheeses, croissants, and every other imaginable fresh produce, we ate well in the mornings. The food is cheap, fresh and served by lively individuals every morning. Not to be missed!!
What to buy: Fruit
What to pay: Cheaper than in supermarkets, and much fresher!
The thing about this shop is that as you can see, the meat is extremely fresh. You have to admit, this is a sight you don't see every day, or even want to see every day, but there is no doubt as to the age of the product.
What to buy: Wonderful selection of meat, including wild boar salami, bresaola, etc.
What to pay: Less than I expected.
Rub his nose for good luck. Inside, you will find food heaven. Everything from fresh truffles to cheese, to the most incredible pork sandwich. Outside, you will find leather, scarves, ceramics, etc.
What to buy: I bought three fresh truffles for 70 Euros, which I thought was an excellent deal. I also bought some wonderful cheese and 25 year old Balsamic vinegar. Outside, purses, wallets and fridge magnets.
What to pay: A lot less than in the US.
A big building, combining industrial architecture with a hint of art noveau, the market halls of Florence are heaven for all those who hate supermarkets and the sight of plastic wrapped food. Here, shopping means an experience for all your senses - watching the merchants and their customers, smelling, listening, tasting, chatting while you shop. On a Saturday morning it will be cramped with Florentinian housewifes preparing for the Sunday menu, but no tourist should leave without getting some culinary souvenir to bring back just a taste of Italy
What to buy: there are dozens of stalls, if you have an apartment where yiu can do some cooking during your stay in Florence, you can buy fruit, vegetables and meat or poulty, otherwise you might stick to classics like pasta, wine, olive oil, dried herbs, dried mushrooms or tomatoes, parma ham and cheese. The selsection is huge and the prices are much better that in delicatessen shops.
What to pay: this really depends on the article you buy, but expect to pay considerably less than at specialty food stores at home
This is the largest covered market in Europe and you can buy all kinds of ingredients from there. You can get some things incredibly cheap at times.
What to buy: I bought every day bit of fresh cherries, 3 ? per kg and fruits. As a souvenir, I bought a bottle of 15 years old balsamico, around 8 ?.
You can find anything you want in the Mercato Centrale.
What to buy: Once you find something you want, look for a low price and then start you haggling.
What to pay: You can get a low price just compare and offer what you think you should pay.