The Offal-Stuffed Sandwich That's Florence's Favorite Street Food

If you've ever set foot in the beautiful country of Italy, chances are that you've visited Tuscany and its most famous city, Florence. The city of Firenze offers much to curious visitors, such as unique art, architectural masterpieces, and delicious Tuscan food and wine. Tuscany and Florence adore their traditional peasant cuisine, called la cucina povera. The essence of la cucina povera is simple, easy, and rustic dishes that were initially eaten by the working class and poor people living in the countryside. 

Some of the most famous Tuscan peasant cuisine dishes include ribollita, a wintry mixture of various vegetables and stale bread; panzanella, a mixture of stale bread, vinegar, tomatoes, onions, and olive oil; and pappa al pomodoro, the famous thick tomato soup enriched with bread, olive oil, garlic, and basil (via BBC Good Food). But there is one other la cucina povera staple — a sandwich that's stuffed with a very unusual ingredient before it's sold on the streets of Florence.

The lampredotto sandwich is stuffed with sliced abomasum, a cow's fourth stomach

Apart from sandwiches filled with trippa (tripe), there are panini con lampredotto, a uniquely Florentine sandwich beloved by numerous locals and tourists, filled with the abomasum, or a cow's fourth stomach. The stomach is cleaned and slowly cooked in broth with onions, carrots, tomatoes, celery, and parsley. Once it's tender, it's sliced into strips, stuffed into a crispy bun, and drizzled with a green sauce made with parsley and garlic, with the option to add hot pepper-infused olive oil (via Visit Florence). 

One half of the bun is traditionally dipped in the broth before the sandwich is assembled in a mess-preventing plastic bag, which is then offered to hungry guests from trippai and lampredottai street stands, per Atlas Obscura. According to National Geographic, this offal sandwich is so prevalent in Florence that the city's Four Seasons hotel even has a dedicated "lampredotto station at its Sunday brunch buffet." 

Although many street vendors and restaurants make efforts to modernize the dish and customize it with other ingredients, Beatrice Trambusti, who has been offering lampredotto from her kiosk for three decades, prefers the traditional recipe without any contemporary additions. After all, respecting tradition and authentic flavors is something that brings people back in time. So, the next time you're in Florence, give lampredotto a comforting, chewy bite, and you might fall in love with it.