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Mercato Centrale, Florence

Via del Ariento
Italy's insider take:

Florence's central produce market is a feast for the senses and a must for foodies. Occupying a 19th-century glass and iron structure, the market houses deli, meat, and poultry stalls (pretty gory if you are vegetarian) on the ground floor, while upstairs, fresh produce stalls provide displays of seasonal fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors. Look out for Mario Conti's stall on the ground floor near the main entrance, which is packed with olive oils, balsamic vinegars (some of them aged for 100 years), dried mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, condiments, and chutneys. Nearby is the Perini brothers' mouthwatering shop, where you can buy cheeses, hams, and salamis and have them vacuum-packed for the journey home (open Mon–Fri 7 a.m.–2 p.m., Sat only in winter). And don't miss a visit to Baroni around the corner, the best food shop in the market, with an extensive selection of wines, cheeses, salumi, and plenty more. They can ship your purchases anywhere in the world (fax: 39-055-289-576).

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