Posted by: Kerry & Jim | 13 November 2013

Florence has many hidden secrets!

It doesn’t matter how many times you go to Florence you always experience or find something new. On this trip with Debra we discovered Cafe Giacosa, the museum of Palazzo Davanzati, the 400 year pharmacy Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella and the central food market of San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale.

Arriving by bus from Lucca to Florence at morning tea time we walked the short distance to fashion designer Roberto Cavalli’s lovely Cafe Giacosa at Via della Spada. It was really nice and surprisingly the prices are very reasonable if you sit inside and order at the counter yourself. Should you however wish to sit outside and be waited on the price is considerably more expensive. Inside is lovely.

The museum of Palazzo Davanzati is in Via Porta Rossa. The Palace was built by the Davizzi family around the mid-14th century. A complete restoration has taken place and it is now open to the public. The painted walls are amazing and the museum also has an wonderful collection of handmade laces from the 16th century onwards and this alone is well worth the €2 entry fee. If you are visiting make sure you open the drawers in the cabinets to see the full display of lace.

Unfortunately they now don’t allow photographs to be taken but when Debra first visited they did so if you are interested in seeing her photos click here.

Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is at Via della Scala. In 1221 Dominican friars established the pharmacy using medicinal herbs grown in the monastic gardens to make medications, balms and pomades for the monks’ infirmary. When news of the quality of the products they produced at the pharmacy reached the outside world, it was decided to open to the public and in 1612 the Old Apothecary was used for the sale and display of products. And it continues today.

The San Lorenzo Mercato Centrale is a fabulous market right in the centre of Florence in Via Ariento. It sells everything from tripe to truffles. The experience of wandering through these large markets is great. As you can see it is very vibrant and the produce looks so mouthwatering (except the tripe and pigs ears that is!) We had lunch of sausage and beans at Nerbone who have been operating in the markets since 1872.

There were hams and small goods of every variety.

Fresh meat and poultry – here is the tripe,pig ears and trotters.

The seafood looked good.

There were many dried goods including pasta, nuts and fruits.

Fresh fruit and veges and olives.

No self respecting market would be without fresh truffles or puccini when they are in season.


Cheese…now there is our downfall.

As is the bread and sweets.

And what is a visit to Florence without a quick stroll past the Duomo and over the Ponte Vecchio.


We look forward to returning to Florence again in the future to discover more of its secrets.


  1. I have really enjoyed all your wonderful photographs and news and like all the other recipients, will miss having a taste of Italy. Look forward to catching up in the near future. Love Robin

    • See you soon….love to all in Jurien Bay.

  2. Hi Jim & Kerry
    We just love Florence and I can understand why you want to return.
    Enjoy while you are still there as I fear you will be leaving this behind soon
    Dave & Di

    • Sadly only 8 days to go here before we start making our way home.

  3. Beautiful city and how amazing are those markets…did you guys buy any leather goods?
    Home is going to be a tad boring for a while you two!

    • Great markets…I had to buy a couple of leather handbags!!

  4. Yes one of our favourite cities…. We stayed in a hotel close to the markets and kept going back them….ate at the same place! Wonderful! Just loved the displays!

    • Florence is a favourite of ours as well.

  5. Yep, Annie & I agree. We have been there twice, and obviously need to go back one more time.
    Thanks for letting us join your tour !

    • I am sure you will be this way again.

  6. Amazing not good to view when you r hungry!

    • You are so right, the food is amazing.

  7. What a wonderful trip you had! And it is true, there is always something new and interesting to be discovered in Florence.

    • Things in Florence are just beautiful.

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