We had a pretty tight meal schedule in Italy, but my dad claimed there was one snack that could not be missed. Nerbone is a legendary sandwich stand that has been serving Florentines lunch inside the Mercato Centrale since 1872. We decided to make a stop one morning as a pre-lunch. As you can see, the old school booth has a constant group of people lining up to grab one of their various meat sandwiches, much like you'd find at famous NY delis.
We were here to try the lampredotto, a traditional Florentine tripe sandwich. It's funny how many parallels there are between Italy and China in terms of offal usage - I don't think they love tripe anywhere else. At Nerbone, the lampredotto is cut from a giant piece that clearly has been cooking for a very long time. It's served on a rustic round roll that's been hollowed out a bit, and dipped briefly into the beef cooking juice. The tripe is then topped with a salsa verde, a bright sauce of parsley, celery, carrots, and probably a few other things.
The sandwich is delicious. The tripe is tender with the slightest chew, juicy, and tremendously savory. The crunchy roll flavored with beef juice is the perfect counterpoint. We had gotten one to share because we were eating lunch shortly, and didn't want to spoil our appetites - but boy did we devour this thing.
They have a few other things on display; the next most popular item seemed to be the bollito, a juicy-looking specimen of boiled beef. Definitely trying it next time.