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Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio

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May 31, 2014 / Italian / By
Nicola

With our fast-paced lives and rising living costs, supermarkets have become the go-to place for most of us to buy our household groceries. This is down to the low prices and the convenience of having everything under one roof. However, often the food isn't the freshest, and you can't always see exactly what you're buying, due to excessive packaging. There is nothing quite like the experience of shopping in a fresh food market, but sadly they are dying out. Luckily, there's one in the heart of Florence, Italy, which is still going strong!

Near the Basilica di San Lorenzo is a large street market, with stalls selling everything from touristy knick-knacks to genuine Italian leather goods. About halfway through this market is the entrance to a large building, which is home to the Sant'Ambrogio food market. There you can buy everything from fresh meat and vegetables to cheese and even pasta. We're not talking street food; that's a concept which hasn't quite reached this old city yet. This market sells all the fresh ingredients that you'll need to make sensational, fresh meals at home.

There's something incredible about the smell of fresh food, and as you walk in, it really hits you. The smells are so rich and the colours which line the stalls are so bright and vibrant that there's no mistaking the quality of the food on offer. The market is separated into several different areas. There is one section for fresh meat, with many friendly and skilled butchers. Fruit and veg is sold in a different area, and because of the Mediterranean sun, the bright, colourful displays are unlike any I've seen anywhere else in the world. There are separate stalls selling fresh cheese and fish, and in the centre are small shop-type stalls where you can buy dried products. These include everything from dried fruit to pasta to oil to biscotti to delicious dried porcini mushrooms. The beauty of this is that if you're a tourist, you can pick up some of these packs and take them home with you (border controls permitting!) to enjoy some Italian goodness back at home.

I wish I could convey the incredible way in which such an array of fresh food hits all your senses. The colours are vibrant and the smell really makes your mouth water. You're able to pick up and feel the produce that you're about to buy, which you can't do to the same extent in a supermarket. The air is filled with a general hubbub of chatter, excitement and bartering between sellers and buyers. What's more, there's no escaping the fact that fresh food from the market tastes amazing!

Although the entire Sant'Ambrogio market is set within a single building, it's a wonderful place to explore. It may barely change from year to year, but somehow it's a place that never gets old. Buying fresh food from a busy market is a real experience, and it's something that everyone should do at least once in their life - preferably as often as possible! How can you resist? When it's a fresh food market in as beautiful a city as Florence, it's an opportunity not to be missed.

Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio

Country: Italy

Province/State: Toscana

City: Firenze

Address: N/A

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: Near the Basilica di San Lorenzo

Phone: N/A

Website:N/A

Price Guide:$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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