The Best Markets in Florence

With historical sites everywhere you look in Florence, it is easy to miss the simpler parts of what the city has to offer. The local markets are one of my favorite aspects of Florence culture; they are an adventure of their own. I often find myself walking along a quiet street, and the next thing I know I am in the middle of a bustling piazza with stalls full of tiny treasures and surprises. Whether you are shopping for clothes, vegetables, antiques, leather, or anything in between, Florence has it all. This is a list of my favorite markets in Florence, Italy.

Santo Spirito Artisan Market

Located in Piazza Santo Spirito, this has been my favorite market thus far. I initially found it by accident when I first arrived in Florence, and vividly remember being amazed at the liveliness of the market. There are dozens of stalls with mountains of Levis jeans, linen shirts, and designer handbags. In addition to vintage clothing, vendors sell handmade food items such as chocolate bars, vegan biscottis, and dried fruit. There is no shortage of antiques at this market either, with a huge selection of plates, jewelry, and even cameras. Market or not, this piazza is full of young people enjoying aperitivo and sharing laughs together, making it a great place to hang out.

Mercato Centrale

This is the market I frequent the most because the freshness of the food is hard to find anywhere else. Architect Giuseppe Mengoni designed Mercato Centrale based off of Les Halles in Paris, and it is now an energetic market filled with Tuscan meats, produce, and fish located at Piazza del Mercato Centrale. The vendors are the same everyday which has given the opportunity to connect with all of them; we memorized each other's names within my first few visits. The second floor of Mercato Centrale is a bustling gourmet food court full of diverse food options, making it a social hotspot. My friends and I love to grab lunch or try a funky cocktail here after a long day. Mercato Centrale is a must see for anyone living in Florence.

Fiesole Vintage Market

A few kilometers outside of Florence lies the little town of Fiesole which is famed for its ancient Roman remains. In addition to being a town with beautiful views and cute restaurants, Fiesole has one of the best vintage markets in the region. On the first Sunday of every month in Piazza Mino, Fiesole’s main square, there is a fantastic flea market selling a large range of collectibles, clothing, and rare objects with different vendors from what you typically find in Florence. While in Fiesole, make sure to wander around the Roman ruins, enjoy a spritz with a view, and take time to explore the town before heading back to Florence.

The Ciompi Market

This market has a large array of household items, such as furniture, porcelain/ceramics, and unique design objects. Although I can not fit most of these items in my suitcase to take back home, I love wandering around and looking at the home decor and assorted knick knacks. Located in Piazza dei Ciompi, this market happens on the last Sunday of every month. This piazza also has a fresh flower store on the northeast corner, trendy restaurants, and tiny cafes/bars to grab a quick drink.

Fortezza da Basso Antique Market

One of the most beautiful markets in the region, this market has stalls lined up along the pond in the garden at Fortezza da Basso, selling an assortment of antiques, collectibles, and furniture items. While you’re in the area, make sure to explore the actual fort itself which is considered a masterpiece of military architecture. The Fortezza da Basso market happens on the third weekend every month from 9AM-7PM.

The Cascine Market

This is the largest open air market in Florence, and is open every Tuesday morning from 8AM - 2PM in the gorgeous Cascine park. It stretches one kilometer throughout the park, and apparently, locals shop at this market for almost everything. I have class during the time of the market, so I have not been able to attend myself, however, I have heard nothing but fantastic things about it. This market sells food, housewares, and clothes and is located in a beautiful part of town. I suggest buying picnic items at the market, and then enjoying a Florentine afternoon with good snacks, friends, and sunshine by the river.

Image from Google images

Mercato Sant’ Ambrogio

Similar to Mercato Centrale, this is an indoor-outdoor market that sells produce, Tuscan meats, and small knick knacks/household items. Few tourists make their way here, so the experience seems much more authentic. Even if you’re not shopping, I recommend walking through this market to experience the sights, smells, and sounds of an Italian market.

Vino Kilo Italia

Although not technically in Florence, this market is well worth the trip. Considered a vintage wonderland, this is a pop up vintage market which has multiple events all across Europe, including Italy. The locations of the popups are shared on their Instagram account, and are usually just a short train ride away. As opposed to regular clothing stores, Vino Kilo is priced by weight, and not singular clothing items. The markets are in gorgeous venues, and is the perfect excuse to plan a day trip. Catered towards the young and trendy crowd, Vino Kilo is a unique European experience with racks on racks of notorious brands. I purchased a Vino Kilo tote bag, and ever since I have seen matching totes no matter what country I am in, because this market is just that popular. The best part about this market is that it is available in most European countries, so you have a chance to experience it no matter where you are.

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