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.
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.