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Sant’Ambrogio is one of the oldest districts of Florence, mostly frequented by students and young people. The neighborhood is known to be home to the old ghetto of the town, the part of Florence where the Jewish community used to live, which is one of the largest in Italy. Still today this area is home to excellent Jewish restaurants and interesting museums, but also hosts one of the most important markets of the town and in the summertime is one of the main hubs of the Florentine movida. Read our list of the best things to see and do here.
Located in Piazza Ghiberti, just 10 minutes by walking from Piazza del Duomo, Sant’Ambrogio Market is one of the favorites of Florentines. It is not famous like the Central Market, located in San Lorenzo neighbourhood, but it might be better: Sant’Ambrogio is more relaxed and quiet and you’ll not find tourists or crowds here. It offers a large selection of stands with vendors selling fruits, vegetables, pastries, but also meat, fish and cheese. If you are planning to spend some of your time here, remember that the market is open from Monday to Saturday, 7am–2pm.
In the indoor section of the market, you will find Trattoria Da Rocco, one of the best restaurants in Florence frequented only by locals. This lovely and traditional trattoria is the best place to go if you want to taste authentic Tuscan and Florentine food, such as ribollita soup, lampredotto sandwich, Fiorentina steak, schiacciata bread and other excellent delicacies from the region. Da Rocco serves only authentic gastronomy at cheap prices during lunchtime six days per week.
Do you know that Florence is home to one of the oldest Jewish communities of Italy? Tempio Maggiore of Florence is one of the largest synagogues of South-Central Europe and one of the most beautiful; the central dome is one of the most photographed landmarks of the town. You can admire it from the top of Piazzale Michelangelo, but you should also visit the temple inside to see its stunning Moorish architecture and style. It is possible to visit it every day of the week, except for Saturdays. If you have extra time, and we suggest you find it, don’t forget to also visit the museum located on the first floor.
If the ancient history of the Jewish community of Florence hasn’t fascinated you enough, head into Ruth’s, the best Jewish restaurant in town, located just few steps from the temple. Here you can taste authentic kosher delicacies, such as hummus, pita, artichokes, couscous, and many vegetarian options too. It is very close the synagogue, so it will not be difficult to find it.
The last Sunday of the month there is only one place to visit in Sant’Ambrogio – the flea market in Piazza dei Ciompi, a beautiful place where you can find everything you need, including old furniture, design objects, dresses, vintage accessories, paintings, handmade items, old books and a lot of other cool antique things. So prepare to leave some space in your suitcase to buy something unique for you and your friends at this flea market.
When in Florence there is one thing you can’t miss: tasting some excellent Tuscan wine. Obviously it is an easy thing to do, as all the cafés and restaurants here offer a wide selection of regional wines, but if you want to taste the best, avoid the touristic traps and head into Enoteca Sant’Ambrogio. Here you will find a great selection of red and white Tuscan wines perfect to taste in the late afternoon, when the Enoteca also offers a cool aperitivo to the customers.
During the summer nights, Piazza d’Azeglio is one of the most frequented squares of Florence. If you want to do like locals, come here to spend some of your time hanging out with students and young people. This square is very nice and is close to the University of Architecture and a high school. Do as locals do and grab a drink from the nearby bars and enjoy it.