Piazza dei Ciompi

Florence is filled with wonderful markets, from the Mercato Centrale in San Lorenzo to the Porcellino leather market near piazza della Reppublica. But, where do you go if you are ready to experience a ‘new kind’ of market in Florence? Try something a little off the beaten path.

Antiques and surprises (Credit: Flickr / Creative Commons: AroundTuscany)

If you love to hunt for bargains and if your nostalgic of the past, why not take the opportunity to enjoy one of Florence’s hidden gems: the Flea Market, nestled in the heart of Piazza dei Ciompi. The Mercato delle Pulci, as they say in Italian, is filled with endless treasures. This market truly has something for everyone! Spend hours wandering through the makeshift stands hunting for unique costume jewelry, postcards, buttons, old records and other antiques.

The booksellers here in the Ciompi Flea Market are one of a kind. Here you can find old art and photography books for just 0.50 cents. Head to the market to find other Florentine treasures, including one-of-a-kind clothes, lamps, chairs and more!

Books (Credit: Flickr / Creative Commons: g.sighele)

For the full Flea Market experience in piazza Ciompi, head to the market on the last Sunday of each month. The market stretches to the surrounding streets and takes over the entire piazza, providing even more opportunities to search for that special, one-of-a-kind piece to bring back home.

Surely you can find something special (Credit: Flickr / Creative Commons: AroundTuscany)

If you love architecture, you’ll have another reason to enjoy Piazza Ciompi and the market. Make your way to Via Pietrapiana and find the building where the talented artist and sculptor Ghiberti lived. Stop to admire the Loggia del Pesce: it is decorated with small terracotta medallions illustrating fish.  It was originally erected in Piazza della Repubblica, where the old market was once held, and dismantled in the 1800s to make way for construction work in the Piazza. The loggia, which features 18 Doric columns, was designed by the famous architect and writer Giorgio Vasari in 1567.

Loggia del Pesce (Credit: Flickr / Creative Commons: Matthew Black)

The Ciompi Flea Market is open everyday from 9 am to 7:30 pm. Remember, however, that the early bird gets the worm: get there early and you’re sure to land yourself the best bargains!

By Aimee Bateas

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