Like Italian food generally, Florentine cuisine relies on fresh local produce. Local people are known for their “waste not, want not” attitude, which gives rise to the “cucina rustic” (rustic cuisine) that uses every practical part of every ingredient.
Florence – Fact Check

Florence's "cucina povera" is deliciously rich

Photo by Ruben Drenth

Florence – Fact Check Florence's "cucina povera" is deliciously rich

“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.”

Tara Isabella Burton
Tara Isabella Burton Travel Writer

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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Peek over the walls and you'll see the real Florence

“Rome is a whore,” says Giambaccio, a ploud Florence native. It has just gone midnight, and we have wandered through the moonstruck streets around Florence’s Piazza San Spirito for hours before winding up here: in a haphazardly cluttered art studio Giambaccio has modeled on a ship’s deck. “She opens her legs for everybody. But Florence...” He mimes chastity – the shutting of two knees – with his fingers. “We are a walled city. We are closed.”