Mercato Centrale, An Updated Space For Tuscan Cuisine

Mercato Centrale, An Updated Space For Tuscan CuisineForget chain restaurants—Tuscan food gets special attention at the historic Central Market, where the staples of honest, traditional cuisine have been sold for generations. The second floor was once similar to the ground floor, a bustling market teeming with vendors yelling out adverts for their fresh produce, ripe fruits and vegetables.

Recently, the second floor was renovated and is now open to the public as a redesigned gastronomic food court. Stands offer fresh ingredients and ready-to-eat dishes for contemporary food-lovers.

Combining the classic with the modern, Mercato Centrale features a 10,000 square foot floor plan, complete with elegant tables and chairs. Massive woven baskets are suspended over the space, decorating it while also calling to mind the market’s history and tradition.

Upon entering Mercato Centrale, one is overwhelmed with the many possibilities. Is gelato before lunch allowed? Absolutely. Could you have a beer with your fresh Italian cheese? Go for it.

This fashionable indoor piazza provides visitors with a streamlined glimpse into the kitchens of artisans who—in standard Italian fashion—are specialists. Gourmet cheeses, bread, pizza, pasta, wine, beer, cold cuts, pastries and even seafood and health foods are served at separate counters.

The wine section showcases Chianti, Brunello and select vintages from all over the world and is a place where visitors can sit down and order a glass. A family-run company that orders fresh seafood daily from Viareggio’s fishermen to serve meals at the counter is found at another booth.

Farmers from nearby Bagno a Ripoli not only display their fruits and vegetables, but blend juice combinations, including the house special: apple, orange, carrot and spinach. Nearby, another stand has shelves of cheeses from the Piedmont region, including Castelmagno 2012.

Not only tasty eats are available at Mercato Centrale: it is also home to a bookshop, a bank, a Fiorentina soccer memorabilia shop and even a culinary school. Also located here is Green Speedy, a service that provides food delivery to homes and businesses.

The Central Market is located next to the San Lorenzo piazza. Giuseppe Mengoni designed the building in 1874 during the rise of modern technology. Now, the interior of the new second floor of the Mercato Centrale is a testament to current, post-modern design, with a blend of originality and timeless Italian cuisine.