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Nov 23, 2007 02:11 PM

Florence supermarkets?

In visiting Rome, we have often been able to find medium-sized supermarkets where we could buy mineral water, wine, yogurt, cheese, etc. at very reasonable prices. One that we frequent is located in the basement of a department store. But in several trips to Florence, I can never recall seeing a supermarket in the main part of town. There's is always the mercato centrale and other smaller ones, but does anyone know where there might be a supermarket in downtown Florence?

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  1. Yes, absolutely. We stayed in an apartment in Palazzo dei Ciompi on Via Pietrapiana that was ideally located for all manner of food shopping and services.

    On Via Pietrapiana, about two blocks west of the apartment, there's a Standa supermarket. You'll be able to deal with your shopping list there. Since the neighborhood is a true residential neighborhood, the product sizes (e.g. dishwasher liquid) are larger than necessary for folks staying only a week or two. However, they're small compared to the sizes occupying the shelves in a US grocery store.

    From your post, it is likely you've already discovered the Sant' Ambrogio market, which is a five-minute walk east of Piazza Ciompi. We actually didn't buy anything in the market hall, but there are several small stores outside the market that we used. I particularly remember a bakery, a good discovery since we thought the Standa bread tasted mass-produced and unacceptable. There's also a service laundry/dry cleaners in that same area outside Sant'Ambrogio. (I think it had a huge sunflower on its sign or in its name. The workers there do not speak English. If your Italian includes the names of items of clothing, colors, counting, and recognizing the days of the week, you'll do just fine there.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Indy 67

      Thanks for the information. That supermarket is not far from Cibreo, where we have at least 1 meal while in Florence. Did you ever see any supermarkets the the west of the Duomo or of the Ponte Vecchio? Any in Oltrarno?

      1. re: CJT

        Yup, Cibreo and its siblings are in the Sant'Ambrogio area.

        I've never seen markets in the two areas you mention on the Duomo side; however, I have seen tiny grocery stores on the Oltrarno. (I can't be specific about location other than to say we were walking from Santo Spirito to the Brancacci chapel the first time I noticed them.) I was told that Florentines call them supermarkets, but we'd probably think of them as convenience stores. They're no bigger than the size of a single-purpose shop, but they carry a variety of food and household items. I can't say whether you'll find your grocery list at any of these places. I only glanced in windows and front doors, intrigued by the diminuitive size of something called supermarket.

    2. a few years back we rented an apartment near Santa Croce - we shopped among other places at an acceptable Standa supermarket nearby, as well as (highly recommended!) Mercato San Ambrogio. There are other fine stores in that quarter of Florence, for those who might consider apartment rentals for a visit, not to mention restuarants, of course.

      Here is a link to a site describing Florence markets and supermarkets including the Standa.

      edit - woops I see this info is already posted - hope there is enuf additonal info to justify.

      1. Not a supermarket (I don't remember seeing any in the central area either) but we made heavy use of a corner store near our rented apartment to the west of the Duomo. It was called a pizzecheria (I think generic local term for small neighborhood market) but it had all the basics. It was on Via della Spada, about where via del Sole and via Belle Donne branch off. The area north of the Duomo, around the Accademia, is a student area and might well have stores with comparatively reasonable prices. At the other end of the scale, if you want luxury picnic items, Pegna is a gorgeous market located on via dello Studio near the Duomo and I thought the salumi I bought there was better than that on offer at the Mercato Centrale.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GretchenS

          We appreciate all the tips and the URL with addresses of the supermarkets. Agree that Pegna is always worth a visit for lots of good eats. Also the cheese and salumi vendor PERINI located near Nerbone in the Mercato Centrale - they always offer lots of samples of their food (and even pour you wine to wash it down).