San Lorenzo and the Medici Chapel
Paper goods in San Lorenzo
Recently, in Piazza Santa Croce, they had a "Slow Food" festival. There were booths with food vendors selling spices, Tuscan food specialties, cheeses, meats, sauces, wine, beer, and bread.
Everyday, the largest leather market in Florence takes place in San Lorenzo. This market has been in existence since the 1500's and is the place to go for leather....shoes, bags, luggage, jackets. There are also scarves, Tuscan pottery, jewelry, clothing, and really just about anything you can think of.
The San Lorenzo market caters mostly to tourist, but in the center of San Lorenzo is the 2 story Mercato Centrale which houses a huge food market. The bottom floor has butcher shops, fish shops, cheese shops, wine shops, sandwich shops, spices and delis. The top floor is all fresh produce. This market is of course frequented by the residence of Florence who come to shop for their food supplies.
When you come to Florence, be sure to go into the Mercato Centrale. It is really something to eat. Many of the butcher shops have animals which you might not recognize, and parts of animals which I am sure you won’t. Tripe, is a Tuscan delicacy and is the stomach of a cow. They also consume the tongue, feet, brain, intestines, of cows and pigs, and eat other animals like hare, turkey’s, ducks and the occasional chicken. There are booths with cured meats which are famous in Italy like bologna, mortadella, speck, salami, prosciutto, etc. etc.
Walking through the markets is definitely a must. Never pay what the vendor tells you the item costs. Bargaining is expected, and even though they will act highly offended when you offer them a lower price, chances are you won’t leave there without the item!