In San Lorenzo, new spots with style and international flair are now attracting legions of foreigners and Florentines alike.
Abutting Florence’s main train station, San Lorenzo is a maze of mostly dingy streets that locals typically avoided, especially after dark. But since the district’s historic Mercato Centrale opened its gorgeous upper floor — a gleaming space filled with vendors of Tuscany’s finest artisanal foodstuffs—in 2014, the entire neighborhood has been looking better. By day, the streets surrounding Mercato Centrale are still packed with stalls peddling leather goods, cheap scarves and kitschy souvenirs to tourists. But at night,new spots with style and international flair are now attracting legions of foreigners and Florentines alike.
The rambling old building that housed one of Florence’s oldest housewares stores reopened last June as a genre-busting gathering place. Still called La Ménagère and spanning over 16,000 square feet, it is a cosmopolitan complex with a coffee bar, flower shop, restaurant, cocktail bar and, in a nod to the previous tenant, a retail area with handmade ceramics and housewares.
The heady scent of mint and a call of “Hola!” from behind the bar welcome visitors to this intimate cocktail bar, which was opened by a Cuban bartender. The house specialty is the mojito, best sipped at an alfresco table.
Immediately after opening last July, this tiny artisanal gelateria catapulted to the top of best-gelato lists thanks to scrumptious flavors like melacotta (ricotta, apple, cinnamon and honey), which are made by hand daily on site.