Florence has a wonderful choice of food markets. Virtually every neighbourhood gets a small open-air market once a week, with a few stalls offering fresh fruit and vegetables. Here we explore the top food markets in Florence’s city centre, starting with the Vip of Florence Food Markets, the historic San Lorenzo Market. Because the excellence of Florence is as much about food as art!

food markets in Florence

Top Food Markets in Florence

San Lorenzo Food Market – Mercato Centrale

San Lorenzo Food Market, or Mercato Centrale, in Florence is a real mecca for food lovers, set in a beautiful 19th century building. This is the beating heart of Florence’s market scene, opening early in the morning and bringing to the city fresh delicacies and products from the countryside.

The market has been completely redesigned a few years back, and now it caters mainly to tourists with an eye on the aesthetic as much as the quality of the food offering. It covers around 5 thousand square meters, where local culinary tradition has mixed with the world, adapting to a more modern concept.

The culinary feast starts on the ground floor, where there’s a beautiful display of botteghe offering fresh food – fruit, vegetables, every possible cut of meat, local salumi (cured meat), fresh fish, artisanal cheeses – and also wine, truffle oil, and traditional sweets.

The San Lorenzo Food Market experience carries on upstairs, where a huge open space hosts a range of international eateries offering fresh pasta, crostini, steak, traditional lampredotto, fried fish, burgers, Chinese ravioli and more. There are big tables where you can sit once you’ve ordered your food and drinks. It’s usually quite busy, especially at weekends or in high season, but with a bit of patience you can usually find a seat, as people don’t usually hang around too long.

A bit of history -> It opened its door in 1874, and the architect Mengoni designed it on the model of Paris’s Halles, in iron and glass, leaving the low part to similar to the Florentine palaces in bugnato (ashlar).

Insider’s Tip => One of our favourite things to do here is to get a sandwich, but not just any sandwich. Try schiacciata (Tuscan flat bread with abundant olive oil) stuffed with salame toscano or mortadella… it’s to die for!

Not just food -> You also can get traditional products in beautifully designed packaging, do a little wine tasting, and  join an excellent cooking class with a chef.

WHERE IS IT: Via dell’Ariento, a few steps from San Lorenzo Church and Medici Chapels. Outside you find the popular San Lorenzo Market, one of the places to buy leather goods in Florence.

OPENING TIME: every day from 9am to 11pm

San Lorenzo Food Market
Image by Rufus46 Wikipedia

Sant’Ambrogio Market

Sant’Ambrogio is the other historic food market in Florence, a big covered market (born at the end of 19th century) where you find food – from trippaio to fruit and vegetables, bakeries with sweet and savoury treats, and a few eateries and trattorias. There are other stalls outside, with more food and cheap clothing. You could say it has a much more authentic feeling, being less touristy, and caters for the ‘real people’ who live in the neighbourhood.

It is the oldest of Florence food markets. Designed by the same architect that did San Lorenzo Market, it opened its doors in 1873, and was then enlarged with an outdoor space. Its lively, rough and ready feel is all part of the attraction.

WHERE IS IT: Piazza L. Ghiberti

OPENING TIMES: every morning from Monday to Saturday, 7am-2pm (closed Sunday and festive days)

=> Top 12 Experiences in Florence for Foodies!

Santo Spirito Food Market

The beautiful Santo Spirito Square every morning hosts an open-air food market, which is a real treat. The atmosphere in the piazza is always lively – this neighbourhood has a big student population and in the evening is one of the chosen spots for aperitivi – and the blank plaster facade of Santo Spirito Church gives an understated elegance to this space.

As for the market, this is a favourite with locals and tourists, where you find food products and also cheap clothing and some artisans selling their creations.

WHEN AND WHERE: Piazza Santo Spirito – Every morning expect Sunday, until 1pm.

Fierucole – Organic Food Markets in Florence

A different approach for the Fierucoline, small markets that follow a green approach. Florence’s Fierucoline are made of local family-run producers that have come together to create a market that reflects their values and excellent products. Food that is genuine, healthy, seasonal and organic, and that rejects plastic packaging of the supermarket-grande distribuzione.

WHERE AND WHEN? Every third Sunday of the month in Piazza Santo Spirito, and every second Sunday of the month in piazza del Carmine (from 9am to 2pm) you find this very special food market. Its keywords are : sustainability, local, small production, green, artisanal. And it’s likely that the person who serves you will be the person who grew the food in the first place. Quite a thing these days! => Here see the Fierucoline detailed calendar.

Market at Cascine Park

The Mercato delle Cascine is located in Florence’s green lung along the river Arno, the Cascine Park. This is the largest of all Florence’s markets, but food is also a small part of it. You find fruit vegetables, cheeses, bread, sandwiches and fast food stalls and a great number of stalls selling clothing.

The majority are quite cheap, and there’s also some second hand clothing, homeware and accessories. It’s busy and fun, a great way to see a real side of Florence and spend a few hours outside the city centre.

It’s on every Tuesday morning from 7am to 2pm – plus every Sunday in December and on the 4 Sundays preceding Easter, from 8am to 6pm.

How to get to the Cascine Market => The food part of the market is closer to the tram – Nearest stop: Cascine.

Alternatively, you can easily walk to the Cascine Market from the city centre, it takes roughly 45 minutes to walk from Santa Maria Novella train station to the Cascine.

Author: Sabrina Nesi, founder of Lovefromtuscany.com, passionate about sharing the beauty of Tuscany and Italy with the world.

Disclaimer: some links to tours and services on this site will earn us affiliate commission, at no extra cost to you. The small commission we earn help us keeping the site going, thanks for reading! 🙂