Livorno’s Central Market – Il Mercato Centrale or Mercato delle Vettovaglie as it is traditionally known – is one of the highlights on any visit to the city. The huge building, one of the oldest markets in Europe, stands majestically over the main canal on the Scali Saffi and is easily reached from Piazza Cavour and Piazza della Repubblica. It dates from the late-19th century and was designed by Angiolo Badaloni who was probably inspired by Parisian architecture of the same period.
Five entrances lead into the main food hall where 34 shops and 230 stalls sell meat, eggs, poultry, ham, cheese, bread, wine, and a whole variety of intriguing foodstuffs. There are two adjoining smaller halls, one dedicated to fresh fish and the other to fruit and vegetables. The aroma of freshly ground coffee is often the first to reach you from one of the coffee stalls.