Umberto Montano

Mercato Centrale Roma

via Giovanni Giolitti, 36
00185 Roma

Umberto Montano, born in Matera in 1956, he grows up in the village of Stigliano. In the early Eighties he moves to Florence where he teaches in catering school Saffi. Shortly later his decision of working in restaurants «where I was tottering since I was a 14-year-old pupil at catering school» – and opens restaurant Alle Murate, which at first he runs with the sole help of his father. Montano's entrepreneurial awareness gradually grows and so does the restaurant, so much so both public and critics appreciate him.

In 2014 the turning point of a lifetime, with the idea and the accomplishment of the Mercato Centrale format, of which he's the board's president. First opening – 23rd April 2014 – in Florence, above the daily market, followed by Rome – in the Stazione Termini, in 2016 – and Torino, in 2019. In April 2020 the opening in Milan, requalifying an area of Stazione Centrale.

The basic idea behind Mercato Centrale is respecting the identity of the protagonists of Italian food, artisans. «We offer guests the possibility of tasting different products presented and prepared by those who sell them and are experts in their fields (hence a steak cooked and served by a butcher, fried fish prepared on the spot by a fishmonger, and so on). We therefore have the goal of safeguarding their professionalism and focus on artisans» and, why not, on business. The project is growing fast. When they opened in Milan it already had 1200 employees and 8 million clients per year, of whom 3.5 million only in Florence. «I'm convinced you must be culinary well-read – Montano says – But without forgetting that good taste is elementary: everyone has the right to say “I like it or I don't like it”, let's not forget belly and heart, which are intimately involved when we speak of food».


Amelia De Francesco

Born in Naples, now based in Lucca, she started off as a literary critic before focusing on wine and food (her passion). She loves travelling and the friendly atmosphere of a dining experience