It’s important to fuel up for big days of exploring the galleries and finding viewpoints in this wonderfully creative city that has inspired generations. You can’t truly enjoy any Italian destination on an empty stomach, so here’s what I ate in Florence.
It comes first because it’s obviously the most important food group.
This Gelateria is part of an empire of deliciousness, with stores across Italy and now internationally. Although the lady who served me was a little grumpy, it was worth it for their amazing flavour of the month at the time: cherry meringue! It can be found in a little street near the Duomo.
This historical Gelateria across from Piazza Republica makes artisan gelato from all natural ingredients. Loved the chocolate and strawberry flavours!
I think this one was my favourite, solely because of their caramel flavour. It was more like caramel sauce than ice-cream, so super rich but it was so good mixed with some chocolately and nutty flavours! It’s in the Santa Croce area near Brac (see below) so perfect for dessert after dinner there.
This cute little dessert shop is not far from the Ponte Vecchio. It has the flavours in the metal tins rather than on display, so you know they’re serious about making good quality gelato for you to enjoy.
So 3/4 of these places are around the piazza in the San Spirito area because it was close to my hostel and it’s also just a really lovely place. Even on weeknights in this area we had difficulties getting into places without bookings, so definitely a good idea to reserve a table at popular restaurants.
Come early or be prepared to queue to get into this super busy, bargain of a pizzeria. Luckily you won’t have to wait long because they’re super efficient, packing hungry customers together on shared wooden tables. You’ll feel like you’re in the real Italy as you drink your local wine from a plastic cup and wolf down a rustic pizza from a cardboard plate.
Close to the Santa Croce church, this vegetarian and vegan cafe/restaurant/bookshop is my one of my favourite places in Florence. The recycled vintage decor, artsy courtyard and good wifi brings in the swanky florentine hipsters in droves, so book ahead!
We really enjoyed the spinach and cheese gnocchi and a cabbage salad with walnuts and pomegranate.
It’s a little difficult to find because its way too cool to have a sign out the front. The bookshelves in the window gives it away though.
This modern kitchen is open so you can watch how they make the pasta and cook it up for you. Seeing as it’s springtime I went for the ravioli with artichoke.That orange stuff is like salty preserved fish roe (Bortagra), which I’m still not sure if I liked but it was interesting to try anyway!
They also have impressive cheese and salami platters, and a 6:30pm aperativo buffet.
Loved the huge plates of pasta served on colourful plates here with rustic bread on the side (and wine of course). It’s a quirky and fun osteria with very friendly staff.
Ran by a friendly Scottish expat, this ambient little pub may not be the most authentic Italian food, but it’s good quality and the location is perfect. We thoroughly enjoyed happy hour and some tasty nibbles here.
This sweet little traditional bakery was right outside my hostel. It’s perfect for picking up some cheap pastry for breakfast or a quick panini for lunch. It’s decorated vintage style with rustic wood and pretty flowers and the staff are super nice.
Another one of my favourite places in Florence, this market is a sensory experience. With its colourful displays and the smell of fresh produce in the air, the market is full of cheap eats and authentic Florentine experiences. The main market is downstairs, and upstairs houses some nice cafes and restaurants.
Where I stayed: Hostel Santa Monaca
What I’m reading: A Short Book About Art by Dana Arnold
Have you visited Florence? What were your favourite eats?
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