Lampredotto Sandwiches in Florence: History, Curiosities, and Where to Eat Them Tours

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lampredotto sandwich florence

Is there street food in Florence? The answer is, of course, yes! The king of street food on the banks of the Arno is undoubtedly a dish that represents the soul of the city of lilies: we are talking about the lampredotto sandwich, a delicacy that encapsulates centuries of history, tradition, and a deep connection to Florentine popular culture. In this article, we will explore the origins of lampredotto, how it is prepared, and where to enjoy the best lampredotto sandwich in Florence.

The Origins of Lampredotto

Lampredotto is one of the oldest dishes in Tuscan cuisine, closely tied to the tradition of the Florentine “trippai” (tripe vendors). The name “lampredotto” comes from the “lamprey,” a type of fish similar to an eel that was highly prized in the Middle Ages. Until the last century, it was common to catch this delicacy in the Arno River, and it was consumed by the wealthier Florentines. The less affluent classes, unable to afford such luxury, had to make do with leftover meat products (often innards and less noble parts of the animal). Thus, this food made from animal scraps was, with a touch of irony, named Lampredotto, because once cooked, it retained a resemblance to the meat of the freshwater fish.

Like many typical street foods from various Italian regions, this dish originated as a poor man’s food, consumed by the lower classes who could not afford more prized cuts of meat. It is made from the abomasum, one of the four sections of a cow’s stomach, which is slowly boiled in an aromatic broth made of vegetables and herbs. The long cooking process makes the lampredotto tender and flavorful, perfect for serving in a sandwich.

Preparing the Lampredotto Sandwich

Preparing the lampredotto sandwich is an art passed down from generation to generation. Once cooked, the lampredotto is sliced thin and placed in a Tuscan roll, usually a rosetta. The uniqueness of the lampredotto sandwich lies in the condiments: it is soaked in the cooking broth and enriched with a green sauce made of parsley, garlic, capers, and anchovies, and a spicy sauce for those who love bold flavors. Each trippaio has their secret recipe for the green sauce, and the choice of ingredients may vary slightly, but the result is always an explosion of flavors that makes each bite unique.

Where to Eat the Best Lampredotto Sandwich in Florence

To savor an authentic lampredotto sandwich, one must visit the trippaio kiosks scattered throughout the city. Here are some of the most famous:

  1. Trippaio del Porcellino: Located near the famous Porcellino Fountain, it is one of the most celebrated trippai, frequented by Florentines and tourists alike.
  2. Trippaio di San Lorenzo: Near the Central Market, this trippaio is known for the quality of its ingredients and the care in its preparation.
  3. Trippaio di Sant’Ambrogio: In one of the most authentic neighborhoods of Florence, it offers a lampredotto with a genuine and traditional flavor.
  4. Trippaio del Mercato Nuovo: An institution for Florentines, where you can enjoy a lampredotto sandwich accompanied by views of the historic center’s beauties.


For those visiting Florence, tasting a lampredotto sandwich is an absolute must, not only for its inimitable flavor but to fully immerse oneself in the city’s history, its gastronomic culture, and the ancient customs of its people.