09 March, 2009

San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale - Florence, Italy - Part 1 is My World Today

Come on, let's check out the San Lorenzo Mercato (market) ... it's this way.

The building was built some time between 1870 and 1874 by architect Giuseppe Mengoni and it is thought that it was built in part to provide an alternative for those who had shopped in the area around Piazza della Repubblica (we will visit this site another day) which at that time in history hosted the City of Florence's major vegetable market. According to history, the area around the Piazza della Repubblica was undergoing a renewal during these years.

It is Europe's largest covered food hall and is a most wonderful stone, iron and glass building. Mengoni is also

responsible for Milan's celebrated covered shopping galleries.
It is difficult to appreciate the design of the Mercato though, one can imagine that in its day it probably was quite a site. The building's footprint is quite large and covers at least two blocks. The Mercato offers a huge variety of fresh items: produce of many kinds (from throughout Italy), fresh fruit, flowers, cheese of every imaginable variety, meats (including stewed boar, cow stomach and intestines), fish and seafood, poultry, pastas, dried fruits, porcini, spices, breads, pastries, dry goods, wines and truffles. There are also stands inside where you can have the vendor make you a sandwich and you can sit down at a little table and enjoy the atmosphere. It reminds me of a closed version of the Farmer's Market in the Fairfax District of Los Angeles, California.

My Uncle informed me during my visit that Italians prefer "FRESH" produce and fruit and do not as a rule purchase anything but. He also said that Italians also prefer "organic" produce and fruit and "cage free" or "free range" eggs. I must say that I too prefer the same here in Virginia but, often have problems finding some items. The range of produce and fruit is absolutely unreal in Italy and I already miss that.

Along the street located at the front entrance of the Mercato are stands that sell scarves, purses, souvenirs, leather goods, jewelry, ties and such to tourists and locals.
Here's a shot of the inside of the building looking up at the ceiling. It was kind of chilly inside the Mercato, glad I had a jacket on.
I thought we'd start our trip through the mercato with the flowers. Thursdays are the main day for flower sellers (unfortunately I was unable to make it back as I was out of town on a day trip) but, I did manage to snap some photosgraphs the day I visited the Mercato. Aren't these just beautiful?
Hope you enjoyed Part 1 of our visit to San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale in Florence, Italy.

Be sure to stop by next week as we continue our visit at the Mercato Centrale. I can't wait to show you the meat and poultry stalls.

Please check out My World Tuesday. There's a great group of people from all over the world posting weekly, great photographs from near and far. It's one of my favorites.

39 comments:

Tranquility said...

What an interesting building. Hmm... it sounds like the W. Europeans are far ahead of the States when it comes to an appreciation for healthy living!

Louise said...

A wonderful trip! I love markets, and Florence... what could be better? The photos are beautiful.

ewok1993 said...

now that is some tour; i especially enjoyed the flower section. those cymbidiums are really beautiful aren't they?

Sylvia K said...

Oh, a wonderful tour! I love markets! and the flowers! exquisite colors. Marvelous photos! Thanks!

Janie said...

Gorgeous flowers and an interesting old building. I'll look forward to the displays of fresh produce.

SandyCarlson said...

Your descriptions make me hungry and curious.

Mojo said...

We had a similar setup here in Raleigh back when City Market was an actual market. The building is still there, but it's inhabited by restaurants and shops now. The market proper moved to a larger open-air location in the 50's and then to an even larger location on the outskirts of town in the 90's. As much as I'm sure they needed the space, the last move put them in a location that's not nearly as convenient for someone who works downtown like I do. Still, I suppose that's the price of progress.

Carole said...

The orchids are gorgeous! I love the tie display.

Gaelyn said...

I'm really liking this Mercato so far. Isn't it wonderful to be able to buy fresh and organic in such a place. Love the flowers and can't wait for more of this trip.
Such a tease.

Carver said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip. I like all your shots and the flowers are gorgeous.

Babooshka said...

Wonderfuk virtual walk around the market place. We do not have a market here sadly. Beautiful orchids.

Jeannelle said...

Fun to see these interesting scenes from Florence. Thank you for posting them. Happy travels!

Lilli & Nevada said...

That is so interesting and those flowers are absolutely gorgeous

ChrisC and JonJ said...

Beautiful!I have always dreamed of Italy.Even more so now.Thanks!

fishing guy said...

Erin: So glad you had a nice trip to Italy and glad you were able to show some of your shots.

Swarna said...

Nice connducted tour of another conducted tour!

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Beautiful tour, those orchids are gorgeous!

one buddhess said...

I love those flowers, and the buildings have great structures.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Yes, I did enjoy my visit. ;-) How interesting that Italians have a great variety of fruit. Is that because you were in a city?

Neat shots of the outdoor stall and the inside orchids.

Mariz said...

Those are gorgeous orchids! Thanks for the tour.

Ishtar said...

What beautiful flowers! I miss orchids!
Greetings from West Africa,
Esther

MedaM said...

I enjoyed your photos and even more reading your description. The orchids are simply gorgeous and your photos fantastic.

leonnybg said...

The comment is good. I never been in Italy. Beautiful pictures. Greetings from Bulgaria!

niinuska said...

A very beautiful building and love the orchids! Thank you for sharing and greetings from Sweden!
Niinuska, at http://niinuska.wordpress.com/

Sujatha said...

Markets are my favorite places in any new city. Lovely photographs of the flowers. Looking forward to part 2!

W. Latane Barton said...

fascinating city. And, those orchids.... oh my. Just gorgeous.

susieofarabia said...

Looks like a fun day! Great photos - and BTW, your header photo is stunning!

The Good Life in Virginia said...

my new header was taken at a church in orvieto...at first glance i saw the sky/cloud reflections and then the aging frescos...took several shots of each window and will do a separate post one day soon.
thanks for noticing :)

erin

antigoni said...

Great photos! Great place!

Ruth said...

I do love markets, and this one looks very inviting. Looking forward to the next installment.

Lisa Wilson said...

Those are beautiful photos! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Gardenia said...

What a wonderful market. The orchids take your breath away!

Titania said...

A very special mercato. The Orchids are beautiful. I would love to do my shopping there.

zeal4adventure said...

Thanks for the trip to the market... I love markets. To know more about the people, I visit their market!

Denise said...

Wonderful post, those flowers are gorgeous, and I enjoyed all your photos. Looking forward to the next installment.

Michele said...

Oh wow... I honestly did enjoy this visit. What fun indeed! So much to see and obviously so much to do... the flowers are stunning!

Mountain Retreat Photos

Today's Blah... said...

Whoa, what beautiful Cattleya's! My mom used to grow orchids and so I had my share of li'l knowledge when she was gardening coz I think I've got green thumbs too...

susieofarabia said...

Great building - and I love those orchids! Wonderful photos, Erin.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Such an impressive building!
Oooh! And the flowers are so beautiful I can almost smell them.

Italians must be much healthier than we Americans. I wish we had more groceries and markets that focused on fresh organic foods.

~Lisa