San Lorenzo Food Market is a double-story indoor market, that’s as much about food experience as it is about food shopping.

Once the main general food market for the Florentines, the original friendly chaos has given way to tidier and more tourist friendly stalls. The recently refurbished upper level has informal eateries and shops where you can grab some typical florentine fare, a glass of wine or a quick slice of pizza.

Homegrown Florentines, attached to the old ways, argue that the newly refurbished market has lost its traditional character. But visitors flock to it. It’s a tastefully redesigned space overflowing with colour, and all manner of authentic, fresh food.

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San Lorenzo Central Food Market – downstairs

Downstairs you still have the food market where you can find all sorts of food and delicacies including salumi, meat, pasta, and other tasty treats. It’s open in the morning (7am to 2pm Mon-Fri, and 7am – 5pm Saturday. It’s closed on Saturday during the Summer months).

The real innovation is upstairs. The huge open plan space has been redecorated and is shared by a range of bars, bakers and restaurant. All around you’ve got communal tables that anyone can use as long as they’ve bought something from one of many stalls. This floor is open from 10am to midnight.

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San Lorenzo Central Food Market – upstairs

What’s on the menu at San Lorenzo Food Market?

Freshly baked bread, confectionery, fried food; you name it, it’s here. There’s fish, cheese, chocolate and ice cream, fresh pasta, luxury wines, simple focaccia and sandwiches. All shops are run by artisanal traders who share a passion for their craft.

If it’s breakfast you’re after, there are pastries and cappuccino. You can also grab a snack or a proper meal at one of the restaurants. There’s wine tasting too, and speciality local dishes like lampredotto. Just so you know before you try it; this is boiled cow’s stomach, usually seasoned with green sauce. Try it in a panino from the portable stall just outside the market building.

What can you expect:

This is a big open plan place with seating for 500. It’s loud and lively, and increasingly trendy. There’s also a cooking school, a small library devoted to recipe books and a EatItaly retail space. Public toilets are on the first floor, and there’s underground parking, which is expensive.

Good prices, especially the freshly made sandwiches from the vendors on the ground floor, great variety and quality. If you’re on a budget, you’ll definitely find something here. Find more suggestions for travelling in Florence on a budget.

What can’t you find?

Peace and quiet. In high season it fills up quickly at all hours. The atmosphere is fun but some feel it’s a far cry form the real Florence.