If you’re like me, you’ll agree that one of the best ways to get to know a city is through its local markets. Here in Florence we enjoy not only daily food markets at the Central Market and Sant’Ambrogio Market, but also monthly and annual markets in various piazzas around the city.
One of the ways I measure my month is by which Sunday market is taking place. I am always sad to miss it, or as happens on the first Sunday of the month, there is none at all. It is my favorite way to buy anything from food, to gifts, even shoes and housewares. In Florence, anything you need, you can find at a market and usually for a great price. What are you looking for or what mood are you in? In this blog series I will introduce you to all of my favorite markets in Florence and give you a taste of what to expect so you can pick and chose which will become part of your monthly schedule.
Santo Spirito Flea Market:
When: Second Sunday of every month (see calendar)
Time: In the AM. Closes down around 2pm
Where: Piazza Santo Spirito (See map)
Notes: Cash recommended
The Santo Spirito Flea Market has a little bit of everything: antiques, knick-knacks, clothing, hand-made goods, used books, snacks and the usual scarves, bags, and jewelry that pop up at every market-like event. It is an excellent mix of all the items you can expect to find at Florence’s markets so it makes for a great introduction. Once you see which of these items interest you most, you can fine tune your market “experience” and go to one that is more specialized (I told you, I take this stuff seriously).
The two markets that happen in Piazza Santo Spirito, on the 2nd and 3rd of the month, are some of my favorites. They tend to be mostly locals and many come to hang out as well as shop. Lounging, sunning (when the weather allows) and general socializing are as important as the goods being sold. It’s for good reason, Santo Spirito is a great Sunday hang out spot. There are a plethora of good coffee places, restaurants, and stores to enjoy on a day when many things are closed.
See the map below for the main tourists sites in that area as well. (Note: the many museums of the Palazzo Pitti and its gorgeous Boboli gardens are open and a great next stop on the itinerary after you have some snacks in you.)
Want to make a day of it? Enjoy the market then grab a bite to eat. Here are some suggestions.
On the piazza:
Gusto Panino – hole-in-the-wall sandwich and wrap spot (perfect for those on a budget)
They have a proper Osteria right around the corner if you’d rather sit – but it is popular and there isn’t a ton of space.
Caffe Ricchi – a bar with a decent lunch menu and outdoor patio if the weather is nice. Great salads too if you’re in need of some veggies. Not too pricey.
Osteria Santo Spirito – one of my favorites and many others too. It can be crowded on a Sunday but the food is great. Note: it will be a big lunch…
Need something sweet?
In the nearby Piazza della Passera is one of our favorite gelato places…
Gelateria della Passera
Piazza della Passera, 15r
Always fresh flavors and some that you don’t find too often, such as mojito.
Grab one before you hit the museums at Palazzo Pitti.