The Trattoria Vecchio Mercato is situated in the heart of San Lorenzo, the liveliest and most picturesque area of Florence. The market, the artists’ studios and the romantic restaurants have always given it a distinctive atmosphere - integral to the city of Florence but somehow apart from it.
As early as 1338 a market was held in honour of Laurentius the patron saint of cooks, in the magnificent square in front of the Basilica di San Lorenzo, itself festooned with wreaths of myrtle and laurel. It was customary for the Compagnia dei Pastai ( The Pastrycook Guild) of San Lorenzo to sell ribbons of pasta lightly toasted on one side - the now ubiquitous lasagne - to display breads and pasta of all kinds, while the fryers of fish, roventini and sommommoli offered an array of crispy, hot, tasty golden treats.
In the 16th century, Raffaello, Michelangelo, and Bartolomeo Ammannati all lived in the San Lorenzo district and much later, in 1862, Carlo Collodi, author of “Pinnochio” was born here to his maid mother and cook father! The area, boasting the Liberty Pavilion in the Central Market, is home to the teeming crowds of people meandering around the colourful stalls, street entertainers and pavement artists.