“Oh, my poor darlings,” cries the proprietor at Da Nerbone, a butchers’ stand in the heart of the San Lorenzo Market in Florence. “You’ve been waiting for such a very long time.”
He shoots me a wink. Da Narbone is one of the most famous purveyors of Florence's famed lampredotto: tender, broth-infused tripe made from the fourth stomach of a cow.
On this spring afternoon, the lines – an equal number of suitcase-toting tourists en route to the nearby train station and agitated locals – snake out the market door for this classic example of cucina povera ("kitchen of the poor"): traditional Florentine peasant cuisine now reimagined as the paragon of local Florentine fare.
Despite the hordes of tourists, Da Nerbone has never raised its prices; for around 5 euro, I get a crusty rose-shaped bun moistened with broth, several forkfuls of sizzling lampredotto, and a piquant chilli sauce. I eat it walking out of the marketplace, elbowing past so many other tourists, workers, stall-sellers of Florentine leather and Chinese toys.
My lips burn from the peperoncino – but boy, it’s worth it.
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