With the renewal of Florence as Capital city and the demolition of the Old Market and the Florentine Ghetto to make room for the new Piazza della Repubblica, two covered spaces were designed to host new market places: San Lorenzo and the market of Sant'Ambrogio. The construction of the Central Market structure was entrusted to the architect Giuseppe Mengoni, who had designed the innovative Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan. The project was very successful and the functionality of the building was particularly evident both inside and out. A loggia with 10 classic arches on each side was built around the market, with columns made of pietra serena. Thanks to the important interest in the International Agricultural Exhibition in 1874, the inauguration was a great success.
Inside, the light is abundant and the huge windows on which the roof rests provide the effect of open-air market. The layout of the shops is divided into specific areas: chicken coops, butchers, delicatessen shopkeepers, fishmongers, greengrocers and bakers. The Central Market suffered a severe crisis for several decades. In 2014, the situation was addressed and resolved with the launch of a renovation project. The entrepreneur Umberto Montano redeveloped 3000 square metres, adding 20 speciality artisan workshops, bars and restaurants that give rise to a series of events and initiatives. This made the Central Market a winning innovative model to export to other cities such as Turin, Rome and Milan.