Mercato centrale

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Pluses and minuses of living next door to the Mercato Centrale of Florence for a week:

+ Almost instant access to the freshest most beautiful food in the world

+ Tidbits and tastings -- olive oils, vinegars, meats and cheeses -- throughout the two market floors (Have you ever tasted 45-year old balsamic vinegar -- reserved fro fine meats, cheeses and desserts?)

+ Inexpensive and colorful kabab cafes operated by Arab and African immigrants who work and live in this district

+ The Forno (literally, oven) operating across from the market, with its racks filled with foccaccio, pizza, calzone, pane (bread), lasagna and other aromatic enticements

+  "Our" corner gelateria -- the San Lorenzo -- with the best prices for quick snacks and late night libations, too.

+ A view of the dome of San Lorenzo, and the layered sounding of bells at 7, noonish and midnight.
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 + A very convenient location, once we had the winding plan of the city in mind -- just a few minutes to the Duomo.

+ Street stalls stretching the length of the next plaza away, filling the street with a bazaar of silk scarves, kitchy souvenirs, purses and jackets with their aroma of  leather wafting up to our window.

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Minuses

- Those same mobile street stalls lived in garages under our 3rd (in US terms 4th) floor apartment, and -- until we figured to close the double windows and shutters and use earplugs -- the noise of their rattling, metalic departure in the early AM was sleep shattering. (Even if their movers were some of the most beautiful shirtless men I saw in Italy, and that, my dears, is saying a lot.)

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– Tiny shower

– That's it. 

If you're interested, contact the owners of San Lorenzo apartments (I think they are associated with the restaurant down stairs and stones throw away, the Traattoria Garibardi). The Beatrice was the front apartment and had the peekaboo view of San Lorenzo, the rear one, far quieter but only an interior courtyard view, was Dante. Both had simple furnishings, cooking corners, small bathrooms, airconditioning and TVs -- quite good set-ups for the price and location.