There is a market here in Chianti every day of the week, and dozens of markets weekly all over Tuscany. They great places to buy:
- fantastic selection of local produce, including all in-season fruit and veg, several butchers and fish-mongers (excellent fresh fish!), and freshly roasted chickens, rabbit, and porchetta (whole roast pig, seasoned and sliced). Some stalls only sell fruit and veg they grow themselves, and these are usually the best to go for.
- excellent prosciutto, salami and cheeses
- embroidered linens, including table-cloths, sheets, towels, bed-spreads, and excellent quality lace
- clothes for every taste, good shirts and silk ties
- great value Italian shoes – some real bargains here if you look carefully
- plants and flowers
- pots, pans, crockery, porcelain and other kitchenware
- tools and other hardware
Some of the things you should definitely try include:
- Find the stalls that sell freshly roasted chickens, and find the one that’s busiest. Take a ticket, buy a chicken. They are fantastic. And if you are feeling more adventurous, ask if they have any roast bunny (coniglio) – very tasty – and try some fried polenta. And the fries. ANd the little fried mozzarella balls. And…
- Look for the stalls selling freshly roasted pork, or ‘porchetta’. There are two types, normale and ‘salata’ (salty). Ask for a bit of both. Goes really well with a well-dressed fresh green salad (salt, pepper, wine vinegar and a good oil). If you prefer a sandwich, ask for “un panino alla porchetta, per favore”.
- Buy lots of small pieces of different cheeses, and salamis. Don’t be shy – the vendors are used to Italian grandmas buying a couple of slices of everything.
- Look for the fishmongers and buy some fresh fish (make sure the fishes’ eyes are black, not cloudy, and ask them to clean the fish for you).
- If you are feeling adventurous, find the stall selling lampredotto, a proper local’s sandwich. If you can get past the gagging reflex, it really is very good.
Near us, these are the markets we tend to use the most:
Monday there’s one in San Casciano, 25 minutes away, a good-sized market in a very pretty, un-touristy town
Tuesday is Poggibonsi – a big market, selling everything from knickers to chainsaws, and a big fresh-produce area, including come excellent fishmongers and cheese sellers. Starring our favourite cheese man, brilliant vegetable lady, and lovely finocchiona & salsiccia man. 20 minutes away, and we go every week.
Wednesday is Certaldo (40 mins) and Siena (35 mins), one of the biggest in the area, where you can get almost everything (though not great for food)
Thursday Tavernelle (15 mins), San Gimignano (30 mins)
Friday: Colle Val D’Elsa (30 mins) – another big local market
Saturday is our small local market in Castellina in Chianti (great fruit and veg man, and excellent rotisserie chicken), and Greve in Chianti (30 mins)
Sunday – Panzano, a small market except in the 1st Sunday of the month….see below
There are lots of other markets that are worthwhile exploring:
- On the first Sunday of each month there is an arts, crafts and antiques (flea) market in Panzano in Chianti, which also sells locally produced foods, soaps, cosmetics. Can be a bit expensive, but a great place to find unique presents.
- On the 4th Monday of the month Radda in Chianti has its market, 3pm- 8pm
- Siena – Piazza del Mercato – Third Sunday of the month – Collectibles and antiques
- Florence – Piazza dei Ciompi – Last Sunday of the month – Antiques
- Arezzo – Piazza San Francesco and Piazza Grande – Antiques and modern
- Orbetello (GR) – First Saturday and Sunday of the month – Antiques and modern
- Pistoia – Via Pacinotti former Breda Area – Second weekend of the month – Antiques
- Pisa – Loggia dei Banchi – Second Saturday and Sunday of the month – furniture, prints and various objects
- Prato – Collezionare in Piazza – Fourth Saturday and Sunday of the month – Antiques
- Lucca – Via del Battistero – Third Saturday and Sunday of the month – Furniture, sculptures in wood and marble