There’s no better way to feel like a local in Italy than with a trip to the local market in the morning. Even today, the local food markets are an Italian staple, a tradition that shows just how important fresh ingredients and quality food are to Italians.
In Florence, the many food markets are a way to experience a historic aspect of the city while getting to know locals and grabbing excellent fresh ingredients.
Another plus to these food markets in Florence? Shopping here usually means you can also save a few euros. Prices are good at the market, and so worth the trip early in the morning.
Things to Know Before Visiting a Food Market in Florence
Now, a little local insight: not every market sells local goods, some may include bancherelle (food stalls) that are selling imported fruits and veggies—still at a great price. But we’re big advocates of fully experiencing local life, so that’s why we’re sharing with you the best food markets in Florence with a true Tuscan essence!
But first, a few tips for visiting the markets:
- Make sure to have cash on hand and the smaller the bills, the better. It may happen that some producers either do not have card machines or don’t want to make change.
- Bring your own sturdy reusable bags, or even better, invest in a little nonni cart—the shopping bags on wheels—if you plan on making the market a regular occurrence!
- Don’t be afraid to ask the producers for recipes. They love sharing how to best taste their produce!
So now let’s take a trip to the best food markets in Florence!
Must-Visit Food Markets in Florence
1. The Classic – Mercato Centrale
Ease into the local markets with one that may be more in your comfort zone.
The upstairs of Mercato Centrale is more of a food court, where you can shop for wine, cheese, and salumi, but also grab ready-made bites to eat. While there are plenty of tastes of Tuscany here to enjoy, they have also brought along a few international chefs who are local favorites—you can even grab some fantastic sushi here!
While that part may not sound very Tuscan, it actually is a local pastime to hang out and grab an aperitivo here. At night it becomes quite busy.
But what we really want to show you at Mercato Centrale is downstairs—the historical indoor food market that has been here since the mid-1800s.
This busy indoor market is where you’ll find many Florentines in the morning. They’ll be grabbing a cafe e cornetto at the bar for breakfast before rolling their carts between the stalls grabbing the tastiest in-season vegetables, fresh-baked bread and their favorite pecorino.
Mercato Centrale is more than just a spot to do your shopping—it is truly a community on its own. And the more you visit, the more you’ll start to find your place in this vibrant family.
2. Where the Locals Go – Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio
A few steps out from the crowded center, you can find the Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio (Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti) a few streets behind Santa Croce. This location is right at the edge of where the curated tourist Florence and the true Firenze meet, and if you head here you are bound to be surrounded by Tuscan accents complete with their airy c’s. (Did you know? In Tuscany we pronounce hard c’s as h’s, for example Coca-Cola = Hoha Hohla).
Sant’Ambrogio’s main market is indoors but there are some stalls outdoors. They’ve been a local staple since 1873.
If you want to swing by this market, they are open Monday–Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. While turning up early gets you the freshest and best produce, showing up towards the end might get you great deals on what’s left!
3. The Best Deals – Mercato delle Cascine
Located down the Arno, the Mercato delle Cascine (Viale dei Lecci) is located in the large park of the Cascine, a beautiful green space hugging the bank of the river. According to locals, this is one of the largest and one of the most affordable markets in the city—this is where they go to get the best deals.
You’ll find all the Italian essentials: fruit and vegetables, bread, meats and cheeses, but not only! There is also a section of the market dedicated to household items, clothes, antiques, anything and everything you may need.
This may be one of the city’s best-kept secrets, but there’s only one thing to keep in mind—it is only open Tuesday mornings from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In the summer, pack a little cutlery and blanket, head to the front of the market to grab some porchetta, bread, or other snacks, and take your goods down the park for a little picnic!
4. Truly Local – Mercati Agricoli
Now if you really want to support local, and stick to seasonal so-called “kilometer 0” eating, you’ll want to look out for the range of mercati agricoli—essentially farmers markets.
These mercati agricoli are usually organized by cooperatives or organizations that check the quality of produce and practices for all their farmers. Prices may be higher than other markets, but you can rest assured they were produced ethically and usually offer certified organic and great quality produce.
These markets don’t have a set spot, but tend to move around depending on the day of the week. Here are just a few you can add to your map & calendar:
- Parterre, next to Piazza della Liberta every Friday from 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Via Maddalena, in the garden park, every Thursday from 8 a.m.–2 p.m.
- Piazza Poggi or Piazza Tasso, Fridays from 3–8 p.m.
- In Parco delle Cascine, the Mercato Campagna Amica takes place Saturday mornings
An Italy local for nearly 10 years, Evelyn has traveled to nearly every region getting overly excited about cute doors and nonni cafes. She’s an archaeology and art history major who fell in love with Italian wine, getting her Sommelier and Italian Wine Scholar certifications. She’s transformed her passion for La Bel Paese into a travel planning and relocation consultancy with Colline Alle Montagne. You’ll find her on Instagram @collinemontagne, always sipping a glass of wine and sharing the authentic life in Italy.