While we were in Florence we discovered a little gem of a place! In fact, we both loved it so much after the first visit that we ate lunch there 3 times during our 4 days there! In order to find my little gem head to The Mercato Centrale (the great food hall), located in the center of the Mercato San Lorenzo near the Basilica San Lorenzo.
It was at this market that I ate my very first panino bollito. After walking around the market we passed a small unassuming food stall with massive queues and Italians only queue if something is worth waiting for! Da Nerbone is inside the Mercato Centrale tucked into a corner on the outer ring of the market. It is popular with both locals and in the know tourists.
During the week it can be quite crowded with the lunch time working crowd. Go early, for the panino bollito con salsa verde (a boiled beef sandwich with a green herb sauce) on a crusty Italian roll. My absolute favourite and I couldn’t stray away. My boyfriend loved the panino de pomodoro (pork ) but neither of us were brave enough to try the local florentine lampredotto (tripe but 4th stomach of a cow as I was told).
You might have to stand in line for a bit as it is very popular, but have faith! If they are out of the beef as sometimes does happen quickly, there is a few other fillings and always their beautiful pasta dishes. On our third day squashed on the tables opposite, we noticed the Florence Food tour stopped here so it must be exceptional!
The Mercato Centrale was designed in the mid 1800’s by Giuseppe Mengoni, a famous Italian architect. Mengoni used a beautiful design of cast iron and glass to create this gorgeous landmark market. He based his design on the grand market halls of Paris, Les Halles. The Mercato opened in 1874 soon after an older market was torn down.The building still stands today, much as it was when it was built. Stalls on the upstairs floor are now all restuarants and apparently have an award winning pizza place there. If you have never been to one of these amazing European food halls you must go!
And eat all the sandwiches! I am sorry about all the food related posts but I went to Italy, which arguably is home to the best food in the world!!