When travelling to an Italian city for just a couple of days it’s very hard to decide where to eat because there are so many excellent options. If that wasn’t enough, the limited time makes it very hard to balance how long you spend eating out and how long visiting local attractions.
Florence makes your life easy. Here, you can enjoy delicious food while admiring the historical architecture and natural beauty of the city.
From breakfast to dinner, including the unmissable Italian aperitif, here is my personal selection for two amazing days in Florence that won’t disappoint your eyes or your taste buds.
At the end, you’ll find a map with all the places I mention highlighted, and much more! Download it, so you’ll be ready to enjoy your next trip to Florence to the maximum.
– EAT BREAKFAST LIKE THE ITALIANS –
When travelling, I rarely have my breakfast in the hotels because I prefer to discover the places, food and habits of the city I’m visiting. And, I recommend that you experience the cities in the morning too.
Italians usually go to a bar in the morning. They get a cappuccino or an espresso, and a cornetto (croissant) to eat standing up at the counter on weekdays or sitting at the tables chatting with their friends at the weekend.
One thing you should know is that Italians don’t usually order cappuccino after lunch. If you’d like to follow the local habits but you find the espresso too strong, after your meal, just order a “macchiato” (espresso with a little milk) or a “marocchino” (a shot of espresso with cocoa powder and frothy milk).
CAFFÈ SCUDIERI – Located in the heart of the city, with a terrace overlooking the octagonal Baptistery of San Giovanni in Piazza del Duomo, this historic café is the perfect place to enjoy both a delicious Italian-style breakfast and the unique view of one of the most ancient churches in Florence.
Moreover, the sophisticated atmosphere of the café, with its stunning marble and leather décor, plus crystal chandeliers, will take you back in time.
The counter is full of fresh cakes and pastries to choose from, but they also offer savoury specialities, continental breakfasts and all sorts of sandwiches, if you prefer.
CAFFÈ GILLI – Located in front of the beautiful carousel in Piazza della Repubblica, it is the oldest café in Florence. You can enjoy a delicious Italian-style breakfast in an elegant historic atmosphere, and they serve lunch too.
I had an Italian-style breakfast in both places, but I have to admit that I preferred the “sfoglie alla crema” (these in the pic) at Caffè Scudieri. I advise you to try both during your weekend and choose your favourite!
– APERITIF –
Before our lunch or dinner, we like to have an aperitif which usually consists of a savoury nibble and an alcoholic drink such us prosecco, beer or the famous Spritz made with prosecco, Aperol, soda water and an orange slice. The aperitif can be eaten at one of the bars I mentioned above or in one of these places:
SIGNORVINO – Not far from the Ponte Vecchio, is this informal wine bar famous for its wide selection of wines and beautiful terrace overlooking the river Arno. Here, you can take the edge off your appetite by pairing your wine with a good selection of cured meat, cheese or a slice of delicious bread with butter and anchovies, while waiting for dinner. They also sell wine by the bottle to take home with you.
FISHINGLAB ALLE MURATE – In this beautiful casual restaurant you can enjoy fine art and food at the same time! Their website says, “Fishinglab can be viewed as a carefree museum”, and it is true. Here, you can choose from a selection of raw fish, special or traditional cooked dishes, and enjoy them with a series of fine frescoes just above your head.
I put FinishingLab under the apertif section, but you can also have lunch or dinner here. We enjoyed a tasty plate of raw fish, crispy fried fish and a delicious fish soup for our lunch.
– LUNCH or DINNER –
MERCATO CENTRALE (Central Market) – Open every day from 10 AM to 10.30 PM (Friday and Saturday until midnight), the market has two areas: outdoors, which is full of stalls where you can buy clothes, bags and accessories; and the two-level interior designed by Giuseppe Mengoni (the same architect who designed the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan), completely dedicated to food.
The ground floor is full of butchers, fishmongers, fruit and vegetable vendors and shops selling local products. The first floor is where you can have lunch or dinner and choose from several traditional Italian dishes, from pizza to pasta, and from soups to meat and fish.
Apart from its architecture, the beauty of this market is that you can try traditional food from all over Italy while sitting in the same place.
TRATTORIA DEI 13 GOBBI – Located in the heart of the historic centre, this charming trattoria is where I suggest you book dinner. Once inside, you’ll be welcomed by a lovely atmosphere with warm lighting and a rustic wooden décor. Here, you can enjoy one of the most famous dishes in Tuscany the Fiorentina (T-bone steak) and their famous Pappa al Pomodoro (Pasta with tomato sauce and stringy mozzarella), along with other delicious dishes.
About the Fiorentina – you can’t leave Florence without trying it. This is a typical steak that can be defined as such only if it comes from a native bovine, bred in Val di Chiana in Tuscany. The steak weighs between a minimum of 1.2 and 2.0 kgs and upwards, and it must be served very rare.
OTHER OPTIONS FOR YOUR MEALS (Suggested spots that I was unable to visit)
La Leggenda dei Frati, Villa Bardini – This is a Michelin-star restaurant located within the museum complex of Villa Bardini, with a beautiful garden and a lovely terrace overloking the city.
La Ménagère – Here, you can eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. I just passed by this place during my stay in Florence, it is a beautiful modern spot which also sells flowers. Next time I’m in Florence, I’ll definitely have one of my meals there.
Trattoria Mario – This is a historical trattoria for which you needed to queue for hours to get in before Covid-19. To enjoy their traditional dishes, you can now simply book your table in advance by calling them.
The Mercato Centrale is located opposite the trattoria, maybe you can have your aperitif here than go to Mario’s for your lunch/dinner.
– UNIQUE GARDEN IN THE TUSCAN COUNTRYSIDE –
If you’ve been to Florence before and visited all the city’s main cultural attractions, such us the Uffizi, you may want to discover something totally different that not everyone knows about, including the Italians.
A two and a half hour drive from Florence, on the border between Lazio and Tuscany in province of Grosseto, is the magical Tarot Garden created by the Franco-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle. You’ll be amazed by the enormous colourful sculptures, built from welded steel bars covered in cement and decorated with glass, painted ceramics and mirrors.
THE BEST OF FLORENCE IN ONE MAP (NOT ONLY FOOD)
Be sure to take this map with you when you’re in Florence, so you can quickly find all the places highlighted and read my comments. And, if you like it, please share it with your friends!
I hope you’ll find this article helpful and that you’ll share it with your friends. Please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any question. I will be very happy to help.
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