Picture yourself in a packed city center. It’s hot and crowded. You’re tired and hungry. It also happens to be that magic hour past 1 p.m., where every minute looms closer to an impending siesta. Your food options are dwindling down to an overpriced tourist trattoria, street-side lampredotto (a Florentine favorite, but too much for this queasy American stomach), or a gelato-holdover until dinner.
Don’t fret! One of Italy’s best food options is likely (literally) right around the corner. In the States, we rarely head to a supermarket unless we’re looking to load up on a week’s worth of groceries; in Italy, they’re visited almost daily. Plus, almost all have incredible deli counters, where you can build your own panino for only a few euros. Stack Tuscan meats, finely crafted cheeses, and oil-soaked veggies upon freshly baked schiacciata. The experienced panini pro behind the counter will diligently assemble the sandwich at your command and weigh your creation to determine the price. The result? A gastronomic delicacy for around 5 euro.
The grocery-store sandwich is the saving grace of any hungry traveller: the deli is open all day, and the city is dotted with them. But as much as supermarkets seem to pop up everywhere, it becomes hard to pinpoint exactly where you saw one after a long morning wandering Florence’s streets. As we have personally experienced, trying to retrace your steps could lead to walking for another few hours with no food to fill your belly.
So we built a map of the major grocery stores in Florence’s city center; we like to think of it as a culinary lifeline. In need of delicious, cheap food quick? Pull out this map and you’ll be chowin’ down in no time. Enjoying an extended lunch break? Grab a Fanta or frizzante on your way out and head towards your favorite piazza for an impromptu picnic. Buon appetito!
Featured supermarket chains: Centro, Conad, Coop, Despar, Esselunga, Metà, Sidis
Daily food markets: Mercato Centrale, Mercato Sant’ Ambrogio (no sandwiches here)
*Know of another? Leave the address in the comments and we’ll be sure to keep the map updated!
You can find our full, color-coded map here.