Girl in Florence aka Georgette Jupe

I started this blog as a writing outlet for me to share what it is I adore about the beautiful city of Florence and Italy also sharing travel tips and stories along the way. Now 'Girl in Florence' includes advice for Florence, artisan features, interviews with locals, tips for life in Italy and travel posts from all over Europe. I'd love to think of myself as a fearless badass but If I am keeping it 100% real on this blog a quote that I sort of live by is"I haven't failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." I hope you enjoy this journey with me.

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The new Mercato centrale: Eat your heart out Florence

18.04.2014

The new Mercato centrale: Eat your heart out Florence

18.04.2014

 

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If you have visited Florence, likely you have stopped in the mercato centrale, or central market where fresh produce, meats, fish & cheese are in abundance and you can pick up all sorts of seasonal delights you can use to create delicious Italian meals. From farm to kitchen for your pleasure at a place I love to waste time just browsing, this is the kind of Italy that everyone wants to be a part of.

 

Photo by residenceinflorence.com
Photo by residenceinflorence.com

This year’s hot news was the planned inauguration of the first floor above the food market: imagine a fancy food court, combining tasting stands, shops and a cooking school. 3000 square meters with 500 seats (including a bank & fiorentina shop) and 12 different food stands open seven days a week for a hungry public {me included :)}.

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I was able to join other journalists & bloggers, and boy were a lot of people there, all jostling for a sneak peek {and taste} to see what the public was in for. Before this structure was renovated, this area was in a sad state of neglect, now receiving a ‘fresh face’ by entrepreneur Umberto Montano. And fresh it is. 

 

photo by saraboccolini.it
photo by saraboccolini.it

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Just walking into this open, modern space you can’t help but he impressed, at least I was. Everything was shiny, bright and new with all sorts of stands featuring Italy’s favorites: mozzarella di bufala, pizza from the south, a Chianti wine tasting corner, gelato & chocolate stand, veggie stand where you can get freshly squeezed juice and veggie soup puree, fresh seafood, fresh pasta, bread and my-oh-my so much more. Did I mention the beer stand? Or let’s talk street food — or what about the library?

The list goes on, I am pretty sure I spotted a hat stand hanging around somewhere in the complex.

 

This is awesome

There are a number of reasons that I can appreciate this initiative. One being that they are finally revamping this area of town {near San Lorenzo} to make it an even more attractive area for tourists and locals alike. It definitely had a bit of an abandoned feel in the past and I feel like 2014 time for San Lorenzo to shine. Also the attractive location makes for it to be close enough for those coming to Florence on a day trip to stop by and browse the market, shop, and perhaps get a slice of freshly made pizza before heading home. Surely they are giving the recently opened Eataly a run for their money.

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The question now that many people might have is regarding the quality of the products. We were able to sample many of the dishes and I have to say, it was all pretty superb, a heck of a lot better than anything you can get in piazza del duomo (stay away from self-service). The pizza was perfectly crispy. asparagus risotto bursting with flavor and the coccoli (fried bread) perfectly crispy and steaming. You can spy on the chefs in action and ask for advice and tips, this being the whole point of making the wonder of the world that is Italian cuisine more accessible to the wider public.

centralmarketThe Changing face of San Lorenzo

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The San Lorenzo part of town has always been pretty controversial. Recently they have gotten rid much of the outdoor open market (read more here). This is a hard one for me, because I can naughtily appreciate the 5 euro scarves and easy access to cheap shopping — at the same time I do acknowledge the lack of true ‘made in Italy’ and chaos this area was in. Furthermore as a single female, walking in that market alone was a little intimidating from time to time

Living here for eight years, I can see the positives and negatives of closing the market down. I applaud any effort at updating Florence {especially when it comes to cool initiatives like this} yet we all know how change usually works in this city {just look up the tramvia proposals if you don’t believe me}. It’s a delicate ground to walk on, preserving the integrity & traditions with the very noble need of modernizing and updating the city of Firenze. Someone is always going to have an opinion and opinions they are.

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When can you visit the new first floor of Florence’s central market? 

The ‘primo piano’ will open to the public in April 23rd at 6pm (inauguration ceremony). 140 years after the architect built the original glass and steel structure. Once open – you will be able to go all-year-long, every day from 10am to midnight. website, facebook. Piazza del mercato centrale, Florence, Italy.

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Eat your heart out Florence

Avatar
GirlInFlorence

Georgette Jupe is a 'Tuscan Texan' digital social media marketing maven based in Florence, Italy. When she's not at her day job as social media manager and content editor at ITALY Magazine, she's creating social strategies for international clients and providing travel, foodie & life tips via her blog 'Girl in Florence'. Hobbies include plenty of reading, hiking, beagle cuddles, the hunt for the 'perfect' Moscow mule and laughs with the girls.

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All posts
  • Avatar
    timelessitaly 18.04.2014 at 13:53

    I love the Mercato centrale! What an amazing indoor market. I remember buying the hugest roast port sandwich imaginable. Delicious!

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 18.04.2014 at 17:20

      It is pretty special isn’t it? Like you, I’ve rarely met a porchetta panino I didn’t like 😉

      • Avatar
        timelessitaly 18.04.2014 at 17:50

        Do most of the locals shop there? Or does it attract more of the tourists? Are prices soft?

        • Avatar
          GirlinFlorence 18.04.2014 at 19:30

          I would say it happens to be popular with both locals and tourists (the quality really is top) though many head to the market at Sant.Ambrogio because its cheaper.

  • Avatar
    bobblesse 18.04.2014 at 17:02

    Thanks, Georgette! This is a very positive step for Florence, a retrofit that will benefit locals and tourists alike. Can’t go wrong with food-related progress like this. We look forward to visiting the “new” primo piano at Mercato centro when we move to Florence permanently in early September.

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 18.04.2014 at 17:16

      Thanks Bob for reading :-). I also think it’s a step in the right direction. This area was pretty much abandoned before. This creates jobs and provides a chance for tourists and locals alike to try different italian regional dishes in one place

  • Avatar
    Giovanna 18.04.2014 at 17:13

    Thanks ! Can’t wait to check it out when I am back in Florence in June…counting the days!

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 18.04.2014 at 17:14

      You should and don’t forget to let me know what you think :-). The pizza is delish!

  • Avatar
    bakeritalia 18.04.2014 at 19:58

    OMG!! I am so going to be there, thanks for the heads up, it looks fantastic, lucky you!

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 18.04.2014 at 20:00

      No problemo! Planning on heading back on opening day (that Pizza is burned in my memory…)

  • Avatar
    Mani (A New Life Wandering) 18.04.2014 at 23:35

    Sounds like heaven! And what is that in the first photo? It looks delicious!

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 19.04.2014 at 1:16

      it’s a beet and radish soup sprinkled with rose petals, it was so good that I came home and made the same thing for dinner (plus toasted some fresh bread with goat cheese). 😀

  • Avatar
    mfryan 20.04.2014 at 16:26

    So cool! I had no idea! Can’t wait to go, thanks! 🙂

  • Avatar
    annalemmon 21.04.2014 at 23:07

    Wow this IS awesome! I love the pictures you posted, since I am back home in America and will not get the opportunity to see it for myself (at least not in the near future). The changes look amazing, and it is great to see some modernization without destroying the history. It is a little sad to hear that the San Lorenzo market was closed down, because I also liked to browse through the cheap items, but you are right that it wasn’t always the best place to be. I wish this would’ve happened sooner because wine, beer, and food tasting is right up my alley! I love your “beware self service” warning – the places in piazza del duomo that had food sitting out buffet-style just screamed “don’t eat me!” Thanks for the great post, I love reading your blog and seeing what is new around the city and everything else. It makes me even more nostalgic, but I know I will be back someday, and I will even be up-to-date!

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 22.04.2014 at 14:36

      Thank you for your awesome comment. I agree that they managed to modernize the place without taking away from the original theme {winning!}.

  • Avatar
    The Travel Cocktail 26.04.2014 at 17:41

    Looks amazing! Will definitely have to check it out!

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 27.04.2014 at 22:12

      you absolutely should, and then let me know what you think!

  • Avatar
    [email protected] 23.06.2014 at 18:16

    Hi, will be visiting this place when i reach florence on july. May i know what is the operating hours for weekdays and weekends?

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 23.06.2014 at 19:18

      it’s open every day from 10am to Midnight 🙂

  • Avatar
    Jin 24.06.2014 at 16:55

    That’s cool, will definitely go to this place.
    Any other places in Florene you would recommend to go ? i be there for 3 days before i head down to Rome.

    • Avatar
      GirlinFlorence 24.06.2014 at 18:35

      Absolutely, Enoteca la Barrique for dinner, Buongustai for lunch 🙂

  • Avatar
    Astrid 04.08.2014 at 20:38

    Does anyone have contact details for the cooking classes or an agency organizing culinary events at this lovely market?

    Thanks from Germany.
    Astrid

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 04.08.2014 at 23:05

      Sure do Astrid, just check out the site here,

  • Avatar
    Michael 16.08.2014 at 22:46

    We’re wondering if the market is open in August like normal, or are a lot of the merchants gone on vacation?

    Thanks!

    • Avatar
      GirlInFlorence 17.08.2014 at 17:36

      It should be open for business, I think they got the hint!

    About Me

    About Me

    Hi There!

    Ciao, I'm a curious American "Tuscan Texan" who calls Florence, Italy home for the past 11 years. I am the editor at Italy Magazine and I also work as an established digital social media marketing strategist (5+ years) as well as a freelance writer. My bylines have appeared in Lonely Planet, Luxos Magazine, and International Living. This blog is my way to share what life is like living and working abroad, as well as provide up-to-date true advice on traveling and living in Italy, weekend trips around Europe, and a monthly roundup of interesting events. I'm married to a wonderful Frenchman and we have a Florentine beagle who rules the household. Keep in touch with our adventures with your favorite glass of franciacorta or espresso!

    Georgette

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