Just a short walk from the Duomo is the Mercato Centrale di San Lorenzo, one of the most architecturally interesting buildings in Florence. It was built by Giuseppe Mengoni, the architect of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, and was inspired by Les Halles de Paris.
Glass and iron give the building an imposing appearance, but at the same time lets the light filter generously in. Today the market of San Lorenzo has lost its quintessentially Florentine spirit, attracting lots of tourists for its proximity to the Cathedral. But it is still a market worth visiting, not only for its charming architecture but also for its historical importance and picturesque stalls, especially those selling trippa (tripe) and lampredotto paninis (sandwiches stuffed with the fourth stomach of a cow).
A recent renovation has introduced a dining area on the first floor devoted to street food and Italian specialities like pizza, fresh pasta, meat and fish. You can pick your favourite dishes and sit in the centre, where tables are set with stools or benches. There’s also a cooking school where you can attend interesting classes throughout the day.