Florence Mercato Centrale could be the BEST food court ever!
The San Lorenzo Market may be best know for the lively local market on the first floor: meats, fish, cheese, fruits and vegetables as well as my favorite Panetteria (delicatessen) Clara’s where you can ask for a custom sandwich or the makings of a picnic. boot #27.
The building dates from 1874 with soaring ceilings and windows with wrought iron.
After many solo trips to Italy I try to develop a list of restaurants I am comfortable eating solo.
On a visit early in the day I could choose a coffee on the first floor where many of the vendors were stopping for a quick espresso or take a a cappuccino and cornetto on the second floor where there are many tables and no rush to vacate your seat.
A nice way to have a 10 or 11 am break to check email (wifi connections in the entire building) or plan you next venture exploring Florence.
It may annoy the sellers when a ‘tourist’ asks for a small quantity: one roll, one apple or a few slices of cheese. I had my hand slapped when I tried to select an apple and was asked ‘which one do you want’. The vendor then put the selected item on the scale to weigh it. Sadly with the renovation some of the vendors are no longer in the market. My favorite was an ancient woman who did not want a photo taken but did tell me she had been selling there for many years.
By 4 or 5 pm the market slows before the dinner rush. If you have skipped lunch this is a good time to try beef at La Carne e Salumi, Il Pesce Fresco (fresh fish), La Mozzaella di Bugala, I formaggi (with a wide assortment of cheeses) and the tempting il Cioccolato and il gelato bar. Perhaps I should start here on my next visit
|Ramondo Mendolia, La Pasta Frsca|
|Pizza by the slice with a variety of toppings.|
Solo Lunch: This is a much more crowded time of day and with limited Italian language skills I try to select something that is easy to pronounce or something I can point to. There is a pasta outlet with featured fresh pastas offered each day. Of course pizza, a vegetarian stand where you order fresh juices, soups and salads. I sampled the assortment of fried vegetables and chicken. I could not manage trying the fired rabbit…….. So far the meals were all around $8 to $10 USA.