Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Florence, Day 1: Mercato Centrale (Florence)

After we arrived in Florence, we went to the Mercato Centrale to have a quick lunch. It was such a pleasant surprise. From outside, it doesn’t look it. Inside the Mercato Centrale, it’s a food heaven. Downstairs, it is a market selling ingredients such as meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and spices. Upstairs, it is kind of like a food court with so many great food vendors offering fresh and delicious food, most of them are self-served. It is probably the cheapest way to sample many varieties of Tuscany cuisine in one place.

During my stay in Florence, we went back to Mercato many times. I liked everything I tried at the Mercato Centrale. For 10 euros, you can get a very satisfying meal. That’s considered quite inexpensive for European standard, especially in a touristy city like Florence. I know you are probably thinking “a food court?” Trust me, it’s not like those lame food courts selling corporate food in the shopping malls in North America. Here in the Mercato, everything is so fresh and tasty.

The Mercato Centrale was designed by Giovanni Mengoni. He also designed the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. He seemed to be a popular architect for commercial buildings in the late 19th century.

There is a fake David inside the Mercato Centrale. In Florence, you will see many statues of fake David. Don’t cheap out and think the fake one will do. The copy doesn’t do the real one justice. You have to see the real David,  which is in the Accademia in Florence.

Outside the Mercato Centrale, I saw these vendors selling leather goods and stuff. The products looked kind of rough. Even though Italian craftsmanship is renowned, but not all Italian goods are well made. You have to choose carefully. Come to think of it, they might not even be made in Italy at all.

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