Mercato Nuovo

Souvenirs and a lucky piglet

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The “new market” dates from the 16th century. Though it once housed items such as wool, silk and gold, today it’s largely a collection of vendors selling shamelessly cheap (often Chinese-made) souvenirs, leather goods and seasonal flowers.

The bronze Piglet Fountain (Fontana del Porcellino), on the south side, dates from the 17th century which is a copy of the original marble sculpture which now sits in the Uffizi. Fans of superstition and cheesy photo ops rub the piglet’s nose and toss a coin into the fountain, which guarantees that the individual will someday return to Florence.

If passing when the market is clear of vendors, take a moment to find the “stone of the shame” (pietra dello scandalo), a round marble spot in the center, also known as “the stone of the bum punishment” (pietra dell’acculata) where Renaissance justice was, erm, handed to the naked back sides of people with outstanding debts.

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