Markets are abundant in Florence, and together with the daily markets there are even weekly and monthly markets to add to the mix. You will find the markets are generally selling either leather and other souvenirs, food or household goods. The monthly markets tend to be a bit more special with handmade goods or antiques.
San Lorenzo markets
The San Lorenzo markets are actually comprised of two separate markets. One is better known as the Central Market (mercato centrale), which is a two-level, indoor food market. The other is the outdoor market full of stalls selling leather, clothing and souvenirs. It runs from the Church of San Lorenzo along Via Ariento all the way to Via Nazionale. The market is as markets go – a cheap and cheerful place to search for a bargain, although definitely not the best quality items (and not always a bargain), but popular with tourists as much as Italians. Open 9am to 7pm Tuesday to Saturday.
Butchers, fishmongers and delis are on the main floor, while fruit and vegetable sellers are on the top floor, this is as much a place for locals to do their food shopping as it is for a quick lunch spot for local workers looking to chow down a tripe sandwich or two. If you’re visiting be sure not to miss out on Perini’s delicatessen, on the Via Ariento side of the market. Specialising in salumi (they have a particularly impressive selection of proscuitto, including proscuitto of wild boar, goose and venison), cheese and everything that goes with it (homemade sauces, chutneys, 12-year-old balsamic vinegar and infused oils, for example), you can try everything before you decide what you’d like to take home with you. One of the real winners is their homemade mostarda, not to be confused with mustard, it’s actually a type of spicy jam to be eaten with cheese or roasts (a bit like a chutney) – the pear mostarda is simply exquisite. Open 7am-2pm Monday to Saturday.
On the other side of town, this slightly smaller market is much like the Central market, although decidedly more for locals than tourists. With stalls outdoors and indoors, any time of the year, it is a colourful place to get a taste of Florentine life as you mix with locals buying artichokes or fresh pasta, household items such as cheese graters, plants or cheap clothing. Open 8am-2pm Monday to Saturday.
Porcellino market/Mercato Nuovo
This market in the centre of town, has had many faces over the centuries, being first created in the Renaissance as a silk and gold market for the wealthy shoppers of Florence, while later it became known as the straw market. Today, it is often called the Porcellino market for the statue of the wild boar that sits on one end. The goods sold in this daily market are generally leather and knick-knacks with the quality being slightly more selective than that of the San Lorenzo market. Open 9am-7pm Tuesday to Sunday.
Located not far from the Sant’Ambrogio market, this little piazza houses the flea market of Florence, open daily. The quiet little stalls sell all sorts of rumage-worthy things from antique postcards to lace to chandelier pieces. The last Sunday of the month finds the flea market expanded, filling the entire piazza and surrounding streets – a definite must for any bargain hunter in search of something unique, vintage or collectable amongst the stalls of hats, magazines, books, trinkets, bags, clothes, jewellery and furniture. Open 9am-7pm Monday to Saturday.
This oltrarno neighbourhood has a quiet daily market for the locals – fruit and vegetables, household items, clothing… but once a month on the second Sunday of the month, the entire piazza and surrounding streets turns into a lively and bustling outdoor market featuring a mixture of antiques, food and handmade goods. The daily market is open from 8am-2pm Monday to Saturday, while the antique market is usually held on the 2nd Sunday of the month.