I really lucked out. I think I live in one of the best parts of Florence. I enjoy being able to walk to the market each day for fresh fruit and vegetables, so much more flavorable than even the homegrown vegies we had in Lawrence this year. I've become a big fan of the small pears that they sell here...the perfect size for a snack with cheese.
I rarely spend more than 5 euros, yet come home carrying bags laden with riches: zucchine, peppers, grapes, olives, melon, tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, figs, pears, and more. There is also freshly made pasta, meats, cheeses, lettuces at the mercato aperto (open market) ; too many things to recount with ease.
Sant'Ambrogio market, but it's a hopping place with the locals.
One of my Skype friends, Massimo in Bologna, gave me several lessons on shopping at the market during our language exchange meetings this summer. It's been very helpful to know the colloquial way of interacting with the vendors, even though they seem eager to speak English in return.
Mb: Mi da' un etto di quello? (Can you give me 4 ounces of that?)
Vendor: Certo. Eccolo. (Sure, here it is.) Altro? (anything else?)
Mb: Altro! (that's all). Grazie! (thanks)
Vendor: Grazie a lei! (back at ya)
Simple enough, eh?
I've noticed that this week many of the shops on my street are offering gli sconti (discounts) on many things; slashing prices up to 70% on items like shoes and leather coats. Amazing bargains! I've seen many expensive summer shoes on sale for 10 euros! But maybe that's only for sizes they have trouble selling...I'm not really in the market for shoes, so I haven't checked further then looking at them in the shop windows.
One of the odd shoe designs I've seen a lot of lately is the sandal that looks like a boot from the back of the foot. You see a sandal from the front, and a boot from the back: this was especially evident in Rome. I'm often amazed by the incredible variety of shoe designs worn by women here, from sandals to four-inch stiletto heels. Ouch! It'll be fun to see how the shoe designs change with the seasons.