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Florence: the Culinary Heart of Italy
Florence is well known round the world for its rich history, beautiful art and architecture, as well as for being the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance. But how much do you know about its food culture and traditions?
Tuscan food as a rule, is simple and abundant, characterised by the use of local produce, mellow cheeses and grilled fine meats. Indeed, at the heart of Florentine cookery lie four fundamental ingredients: bread (plain, unsalted, well-baked with a crispy crust and light and airy inside); extra-virgin olive oil, used in most dressings and even to fry grilled meat; Florentine beef, roasted or wine-braised game such as deer and rabbit; and lastly, local Tuscan wine itself.
A Quick Aperitivo: Three of the Best
Fusion Bar– A two minute walk from Ponte Vecchio, the ground-floor bar of the beautiful Ferragamo Gallery Hotel is a popular haunt for uber trendy fashion-conscious Florentines.
- Cocktails start at €14 but come with some quirky nibbles. Aperitivos are served daily from 5pm-9.30pm. Brunch Sat-Sun, 12 noon-3pm.
Caffè Giacosa– On Via della Spada; this is a very cosy and extremely traditional Florentine daytime bar-café, owned by fashion designer Roberto Cavalli. His beautiful boutique is next door and interestingly, was home to the former bar where the Negroni cocktail was invented in 1920.
- Cocktails start from €12, Mon-Sat, 7.30am-8.30pm. The bar stays open until midnight in the summer.
Moyo– If you’re in the Santa Croce area and want some casual drinking, head on over to Moyo just off the piazza. During the daytime, Moyo is frequented by Mac-wielding, cappuccino-guzzling hipster types but come 7pm the uber cool of Florence flock for the excellent cocktails and the free aperitivo buffet.
- Cocktails start at €7 and are served daily, from 8am-2am
Affordable and Delicious
The San Lorenzo neighbourhood is an excellent choice for people looking for affordable and delicious Italian food. Here you will find the huge central San Lorenzo market, nestled amongst beautiful architecture and many quaint boutiques. This area is also famous for the Florentine trattoria, cosy and uniquely informal restaurants serving excellent Italian classics.
One of our absolute favourites is La Fettunta on Via De Neri, is an amazing place serving fresh pasta and a bewildering array of delicious cured meats. While Il Cernacchino on Via della Condotta, two minutes from the Palazzo Vecchio is a traditional Florentine-style tavern offering gorgeous cold salads and some of the finest freshly baked bread in the city, and all very reasonably priced.
Somewhere to Impress
If you are looking for a fun evening then head over to the neighbourhood of Basilica of Santa Croce, which is full of great little taverns and lively pubs. Right next to the basilica, is Pizzicheria Antonio Porrati, which we absolutely adore, and where we will take out friends and family as a nice treat. Again a traditional trattoria and family run business since 1833, it has an epic menu of classic pizza and pasta dishes as well as a cosy and jovial atmosphere. A great place to go to catch up with good friends and just watch the world go by.
If you are looking for something a little more unusual, then head on over to Il Teatro del Sale, on Via de’Macci, where you will be guaranteed to find the most original place to eat in Florence at an excellent price. Created by famous Italian chef Fabio Picchi; you pay €5 to join the culinary club, open from Tuesday to Saturday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a live show at night. An awesome buffet is laid out for dinner, accompanied by delicious dishes like pasta with artichokes and red mullet, oven-roasted with herbs and olive oil, all served out of the window of the open kitchen. Wine and coffee is included in the price. Dinner costs €10 on top, as live entertainment is also included.
Top Tip for Foodies
Look out for these classics, which you are sure to love: Pappardelle sulla lepre, delicious fresh pasta with a sauce made from hare, goose or rabbit; Pappa al pomodoro, a traditional Tuscan soup, combining tomatoes, basil, garlic, as well as stale bread and olive oil; and something sweet- Schiacciata alla fiorentina, a sponge cake, covered with vanilla and lemon-scented sugar. Bellissimo.
We hope we have whetted your appetite for Florence. If you are interested in taking a culinary tour with one of our expert city guides, why not fill out a request on Touriocity now and get competitive prices sent straight to your inbox!
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