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The Ferragamos' Florence

according to the ferragamos, you haven't been to florence if you haven't . . .

. . . worn out your shoe leather at the Mercato delle Cascine (Cascine Park; Tues., 9 a.m.-1 p.m.), the bargain-filled outdoor market that hugs the Arno for a seemingly endless mile. There's a bit of everything for sale, from kitchen utensils to the designer fakes for which Florence is famous (and infamous). But if all you buy is a porchetta sandwich, the morning will not have been lost .

. . . sifted the wheat (marbleized paper items) from the chaff (tourist junk) at the open-air Mercato di San Lorenzo (Piazza San Lorenzo, Tues. - Sat., 8 a.m.-8 p.m.)

. . . lost yourself among the olive oil, sacks of farro, baskets, and food safes at Morganti (3R Piazza Santo Spirito; 39-055/289-230), a grassroots shop blessedly free of tourists .

. . . indulged in a top-of-the-line stainless-steel pasta pot or a pair of cruets standing in a basketwork holder at La Porcellana Bianca (53R Via dei Bardi; 39-055/211-893), a boutique for the knowing cook.

. . . checked out the cutting-edge housewares at Dino Bartolini (30R Via dei Servi; 39-055/211-895), such as pans of semiramis, a stone from northern Italy.

. . . ordered a numbered brass door plaque at Ditta Cosimo Tassinari (2R Piazza Santa Maria Novella; 39-055/287-869), an engraving shop that time forgot.

. . . marveled at the scagliola tables and boxes at Le Scagliole di Bianco Bianchi e Figli (117 Viale Europa; 39-055/686-118)—scagliola is the 16th-century Italian art of using a marblelike mixture of ground gypsum, pigment, and glue as filler for designs incised in slate or marble.

. . . toured the 1874 glass-and-cast-iron stalls of the Mercato Centrale food market (Piazza del Mercato Centrale), the biggest in Florence. After eyeing the Chianini beef and wild salad greens, stop for a bouillon-moistened boiled-beef sandwich at the Nerbone stand (39-055/219-949). Even more Florentine is the warm tripe sold as street food opposite the market's main entrance on Via Sant'Antonino.

. . . grabbed a stool at Enoteca Alessi (27R Via delle Oche; 39-055/214-966), a stately wine bar and shop selling grappa in bottles with flame-shaped stoppers.

. . . savored the chicken-liver crostini at Trattoria Pandemonio (50R Via del Leone; 39-055/224-002), and the lesser-known crostini di milza, with spleen.

. . . experienced the schiacciata con l'uva, a flat dessert bread baked with fall grapes, at Forno Sartoni (34R Via dei Cerchi; 39-055/212-570).

. . . sampled the gelato, sorbetto, and authentic Sicilian granita at Gelateria Carabè (60R Via Ricasoli; 39-055/289-476).


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