Curious roads and narrow streets around Zà Zà

Around our restaurant, in Piazza del Mercato Centrale (Mercato Centrale Square), in the area of Piazza San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo Square), a stone’s throw from the Florence Cathedral and the railway station, you can still read the ancient names of Florentine streets full of history and curiosities.

Borgo La Noce is the road that connects Piazza San Lorenzo to Piazza del Mercato Centrale. The name “borgo” (village) indicates that it was a road that came out of a door in the city walls.

Although it is not clear why it is called “la Noce” (walnut), it probably resembles a walnut tree nearby,  because until the 13th century this area was outside the walls and in the open countryside.

Curious, especially for foreigners who don’t know the Palazzo Della Stufa from which it takes its name, is Via Della Stufa (Della Stufa Road). Many believe that the name derives from the tool used for heating or cooking, and in reality they are not entirely wrong. The family who resided here in the 11th century, was nicknamed Della Stufa (heater) because they owned one of the ancient public baths in Florence: the Stufa of San Lorenzo. In fact, the ancient Romans called “stufa” the public baths where people used to wash themselves with hot water and steam.

Via Panicale (Panicale Road) is also nearby. The street owes its name to the dry panic plant, the “millet”, a cereal of ancient cultivation and which in Florence they call “panicale”, used in bread making and used as birdseed for domestic birds. In ancient times the street was also called Via de ‘Maccheroni (Maccheroni Road).