Traditional Italian meets it match

By Hannah Dustman

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Fresh fruits and vegetables fill wooden crates on the uneven cobblestone streets of the Mercato di Sant’ Ambrogio. Photo by Hannah Dustman

FLORENCE, Italy – Stepping into the Mercato di Sant’ Ambrogio and Mercato Centrale San Lorenzo in Florence is a step into the colors, sounds and tastes of Italian culture.

Even at first glance it is easy to see that these markets are filled with fresh and home-grown produce, baked bread still warm from the ovens, wheels of different cheeses and meat of all shapes and sizes hanging from the rafters.

However, the markets’ main purpose might just be to preserve Italian culture, especially in an age where convenience and ease is continuously valued more than authenticity.

The Mercato di Sant’ Ambrogio has traditionally drawn Italian locals, many speaking only in their native language, while the renovated and more modern Mercato Centrale San Lorenzo attracts locals, students and tourists alike.

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Dried herbs and spices hang above a bright and neatly constructed display of homegrown produce sold in the Mercato Centrale San Lorenzo. Photo by Hannah Dustman

While it caused controversy at the time, the original San Lorenzo outdoor market was closed in January 2014. After renovations, the Mercato Centrale emerged as a two story indoor and outdoor market in a beautifully restored building four months later. Now sporting cafes and restaurants as well as food stalls, it is an inviting showplace.

Yeah, this is culture worth preserving.

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Filed under MU Journalism Abroad, Science ad Agricultual Journalism, Uncategorized

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