Last updated on February 23rd, 2024
Florence, Italy is home to some of the best and most beautiful food markets in all of Italy, all of which are fairly accessible and close to this historic district.
Living in Florence for close to 15 years has given me extended experience shopping at street markets, ultimately providing me with insider tips and tricks for the best market experience possible.
In this article, I will share my 5 favorite food markets in Florence, including practical information on each, how to bargain, what to expect and what to buy at each one.
Whether you have just an hour or a whole morning at the market, you are sure to get what you are looking for and try some of the best street food in Florence with my top tips and advice!
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5 Food Markets In Florence, Italy Quick Guide
|Market in Florence
|What To Buy
|Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Via dell’Ariento, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
|Monday-Saturday 8:00 – 2:00 pm (upstairs food court open until midnight)
|Pairing with a Tuscan lunch or breakfast upstairs at their food court
|Food souvenirs and gifts to bring home such as dried porcini and sun dried tomatoes
|Piazza della Repubblica, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
|First Saturday of the month from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm every first except in January, July and August.
|Squeezing in between top tourists attractions for busy visitors
|Organic products such as local honey, soap, olive oil, spices
|Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio
|Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
|Monday – Saturday 7:00 am – 2:00 pm
|Authentic market experience with locals in Florence
|Seasonal produce, cheese, schiacciata, olives
|Piazza Santo Spirito 50125 Florence, FI
|Third Sunday each month from 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
|Organic foods and other crafts (pottery, jewelry, textiles)
|Organic breads including schiacciata, cookies, olive oil, cheese, fresh produce, textiles, crafts
|Along Parco delle Cascine (street parallel to the Arno river).
|Tuesdays 8:00 am – 2:00 pm
|Cheap eats / Largest selection
|Florentine street food & Italian specialties from other regions (mozzarella, taralli, sardines, capers, etc).
How To Get There: By foot (7 minute walk from Duomo)
Mercato Centrale is Florence’s most historic and famous food market located in the iconic glass building characterized by green gates.
Located in the San Lorenzo neighborhood, just a 10 minute’s walk from the Duomo, this food market in Florence is easily accessible to visitors who wish to stay downtown and who are looking for an authentic market experience in Italy.
The market is made up of two sections. The ground floor is the actual farmers market home to numerous vendors selling all sorts of food items including local produce, olive oil, meat, sausage, cheese, fish, eggs, dried goods, pantry food staples and great souvenirs and gifts.
Some of the vendors are family run and going on the 3rd or 4th generation while others change management periodically. The ground floor is also home to some of the best street food in Florence, such as trippa and lampredotto.
Tip: The Mercato Centrale is a very fun place to come and take pictures.
The second half of the mercato centrale has been newly renovated to house a large gourmet food court with a unique formula. Everyone orders what they want to eat at a different food restaurant (choose from pizza, handmade pasta, cheese and charcuterie boards, sandwiches, burgers, fish, Sicilian specialties, truffle dishes, just to name a new), wait for your order to be called, and eat together at communal tables in the center of the open space.
It’s not the cheapest way to eat in Florence but it’s very good and I like it because you can share and taste many things at one time, breaking all the traditional rules of Italian eating.
How To Get There: Walking. It’s located right downtown in Piazza della Repubblica which is a limited traffic zone. If you are staying outside the city center, you can take a taxi.
I first happened on the Mercatale by chance when I was downtown on a Saturday. It took me years to discover it but once I did, I was sure to come back every month because of the curated selection of food items for sale.
Around 100 different stalls crop up in the square selling food produced literally just outside the city walls. Unlike other organic and local markets known as fierucole, this one is dedicated to farmers who literally live just kilometers from the Duomo.
This market is a great place to get souvenirs that speak to the local territory and food traditions of Florence. In the fall be sure to pick up the olio nuovo or the newly pressed olive oil and chestnut flour.
In the spring and summer, there is nothing more refreshing than fresh, organic fruit to give you an extra boost under the Tuscan sun.
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio
How To Get There: Walking (20 min from Duomo) or bus C2 or C3
The Sant’Ambrogio market in Florence is the most authentic and best market in Florence, in my opinion. This is where all the local Florentines do their daily marketing.
Located off the beaten path behind the Santa Croce Church, this daily food market is also home to antique and flea venders as well. Just like many others, the Sant’Ambrogio market is divided into two sections: the indoor covered part and the covered outdoor area.
The interior is home to fixed stalls selling meat, fish, cheese, bread and staple pantry items. You will also find a very good bar serving up their famous cappuccino and classic Italian breakfast and one of my favorite quick lunch spots Da Rocco. Here you can eat some of the best food in Florence on a dime.
Outdoors you will come across vendors selling fresh produce, cheese and cured meats along with some rotating vintage, household goods, book and flea vendors as well.
Good To Know: Some of the best restaurants, bars, small shops and sandwich shops are located just around the Sant’Ambrogio market. I suggest Gilda for coffee, Mazzanti for home goods, Cibreo for an upscale dining experience, Pizzaiolo for some of the best pizza in Florence and Semel for amazing sandwiches.
If you can only go to one market in Florence it should be this one. It’s the market in Florence that has remained the most authentic with the best vendors and food for sale. Trust me, it’s definitely worth the extra 10 minutes walk.
How To Get There: Walk across to Oltarno and walk 7 minutes to Piazza Santo Spirito from Ponte Vecchio.
La Fierucola is Florence’s organic farmers market dedicated to Tuscan farmers selling their own goods including food, produce, foraged goods (truffles, mushrooms, bitter greens), organic wine, soaps, honey, olive oil, textiles, hand carved bowls and spoons, ceramics and more!
There are no third party vendors here meaning that the items for sale at this market were either made or grown by the vendor.
This organic market is the best way to see some of the local artisans at work and taste some of Florence’s oldest foods.
Alternative Date: There is a smaller version of this organic farmers market in Piazza del Carmine every second Sunday of the month from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
How To Get There: Walk (20 min), bike or take the tram (line 1) from the Santa Maria Novella train station.
Every Tuesday morning, the biggest public park in Florence hosts the cheapest general street market in Florence where you can find just about anything you want or need!
Located along the street that runs parallel to the Arno river from the beginning of the Cascine park, this morning market is over 1 km long.
Here you will find anything from produce and Italian food specialties to local street food, household items, clothing and home furnishing and repair items. In other words, it’s hard to leave empty handed!
This market is best for travelers who are true market goers looking for a bargain. You have to sift through to find what you really want. If you are new to markets in Italy, Il Cascine is equally a good option because of how spread out it is. You can’t really get lost, it’s off the beaten track and there is enough space for the vendors to spread out, making it more enjoyable to walk and browse.
Tip: If you have made the journey over to the Cascine, I suggest you grab yourself a large snack and check out the park while you are at it. It’s fun for kids and it’s a nice change to the hustle and bustle of the historic district of Florence.
Other Markets In Florence Selling Food
There are several other small markets in Florence that cater to residential neighborhoods. You may be interested in these if you are staying on the outskirts and plan on doing a little cooking in your apartment.
Piccolo Mercato di Piazza Artusi
Located in the residential neighborhood of Gavinana, this market is just outside the large grocery store COOP open Monday – Saturday 8:00 am – 1:00 pm. Mostly produce and food items but also some clothing.
Mercato di Santo Spirito
This morning market in Piazza Santo Spirito is open from 8:00 – 1:00 pm Monday – Friday. It’s small but sells a little bit of everything including used clothing, new clothing, produce, food and household items.
Mercato di Campo Di Marte
This daily morning market just off the Soccer Stadium (in a small parking lot between Viale Pierluigi Nervi and Viale Manfredi Fanti) in Campo di Marte is home to different vendors each day. Expect to always find good produce, cheese and cured meats including other household goods.
Mercato delle Cure
Il Mercato delle Cure in Piazza delle Cure is one of the larger markets in the outskirts of Florence catering to local residents open Monday – Saturday 8:00 am – 2:00 pm.
Food Markets In Italy: Looking for other food markets in Italy to visit? Read Incredible Food Markets in Italy.
My Top Tips For Shopping At Food Markets In Florence
- Get There Early: The early bird gets the worm at food markets in Florence. There will be more selection and less crowds.
- Hours Aren’t Reliable: Especially concerning closing hours of a market. If a market closes at 2:00 pm, I guarantee you vendors will be packing up at around 1:00.
- Do A Walk Thru: Walking through the entire market before deciding what you want is a good idea to ensure you don’t make purchases before you find exactly what you want or at the best price.
- Greet The Vendors: It’s common courtesy in Italy to smile and greet the vendor with a buongiorno if you are looking at what they are selling.
- Don’t Touch The Produce: Do not touch the produce or other food items that are being sold. Ask for help if you need it
- Don’t Serve Yourself: Wait to be served by the vendor, even if you see others helping themselves. If in doubt, just ask.
- Wait Your Turn: Because Italians don’t really like to form lines it’s hard to figure out who is next in line. Look for a small number to take or try and understand who came before and after you by saying chi è l’ultimo?
- Be Specific: about the produce you want. Ask for fruit that is ready to eat now or specify if you are traveling and want it to last a couple of days. Point to specific pieces you would like).
- Carry Cash: For small purchases, cash is best. Most vendors will not accept cards for a bag of apricots. Larger purchases can be made with a card but not always. Cash is always the best path to a bargain as well.
- Bring Your Own Bags: To save plastic and save your wrists, bring one large bag to put all your purchases in.
- Buy What’s Local: Buying seasonally is your best bet to the freshest and tastiest food. Ask the vendor what is in season or look at the colors. Are tomatoes at every stall? Chances are it’s tomato season!
- Always Bargain: Bargaining is expected. You don’t get a bargain for small purchases but if you are buying more than one or spending a lot of money, play your bargaining chip.
- Try Different Tactics: Bargaining is a bit of an art form. Try asking to knock a couple euros off, to lower the price, buy two, get one free, etc.
- Call A Bluff: If you don’t get the price you want, call their bluff and walk away. Many vendors will call you back in and agree on your price. If not, you can always come back around and buy at the end of your visit.
- Only Take One Sample: Unless you are purchasing from a vendor and are really trying to decide between different items (cheese, for example).
- Don’t Eat And Drink While Browsing: Eat and drink outside the stalls.
Helpful Vocabulary For Shopping At Food Markets In Florence
|I would like…
|May I try (it)?
|Cosa c’è di stagione?
|coh-zah cheh dee stah-joh-neh?
|What is in season?
|Cosa mi consiglia?
|coh-zah mee cohn-seel-yah?
|What would you recommend?
|Do you have…
|How much does it cost?
|Posso avere una busta?
|pohs-soh ah-veh-reh oon-ah boo-stah
|May I have a bag?
|Posso pagare con…
|poh-soh pah-gah-reh cohn…
|May I pay with…
|Una carta di credito
|cahr-ta dee creh-dee-toh
|A credit card
|Ho bisogno di aiuto
|oh bee-sohn-you dee ay-oo-toh
|I need help
|Ci sarebbe uno sconto?
|chee sahr-ehb-beh oon-oh skohn-toh
|Is there a discount?
|Se compro due, c’è uno sconto?
|seh kohm-proh doo-eh cheh oon-oh skohn-toh
|If I buy two, is there a discount?
|Chi è l’ultimo?
|kee eh lool-tee-moh
|Who is the last (person in line)?
|Half a kilo
|No thank you
|It costs too much
Helpful Conversions For Shopping At Food Markets In Florence
Use his conversion chart if you are buying cheese, cured meats or produce. Sometimes, it’s easier just to order in numbers (i.e. five apples) but in other cases a weight measurement may be the ticket.
|Rough weight in pounds (lbs)
|Italian Weight Measurement
Numbers In Italian
Listen to me pronounce the numbers 0-10:
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