Florence, a city that you need to put on your bucket list and here is why…
The former capital of Italy (Florence) is rich with history and culture. It boasts an array of monuments and “must see” sites. It’s location in the region Tuscany also adds another amazing element to the city… food and of course, wine!
Florence is a food lovers dream but it’s easy to fall into the trap of “Touristic” eating. Almost every second shop is a restaurant in Florence, with waiters out the front calling “Hello, would you like something to eat?” And at this point, for some travellers, hunger pains take over and they’re sucked in by the call of food, don’t let this be you. Here are my top picks and tricks for non-touristic eating in Florence…
Italian breakfast generally consists of an espresso coffee and a sweet pastry. Although Florence isn’t “famous” for it’s pastries that doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect breakfast.
I recommend waking up and heading to the leather market “Mercato di San Lorenzo”. Here you will find yourself bombarded by leather but never the less, there is an awesome little cafe right on the corner of dell’Ariento street called “Pasticceria Sieni Srl” Here you will find a huge array of fresh pastries, cakes and biscuits as well as coffee waiting to be brewed. So typically, an Italian would order one cafe and a croissant however, the coffee can often be too strong for tourists so ask for a cappuccino. The staff are happy to add milk, water etc. My dad actually brought his own mugs to the cafe and they were more than happy to cater for this.
An espresso in Florence is 1.20 euro, a cappuccino 2 euros and a pastry can range from 1 to 3 euros. You should expect these prices for a yummy Italian breakfast.
Now i would assume by lunch time you’re somewhere near the main attractions. This means that if you pick the nearest restaurant you will be ridiculously over charged. Sometimes it can be very financially beneficial to walk a short distance back from these main attractions.
My top pick for lunch is “Pane e Olio”. It is in a very good position, located close to the Duomo, on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio bridge. They have a large range of options but you’re reading this because you want to avoid being a tourist, choose a panino with local meat. I chose their panino with pork, cheese and balsamic vinegar and i think at this point, i died and went to heaven. It is cheap at just 5 euros. Another good sign was that there was a mixture of Italians and tourists in a central location.
Now for us un-Italian eaters this meal can seem strange but it is one you won’t want to miss! It has become my favourite meal of the day and in Florence, aperitivo is done best. A typical aperitivo in Florence consists of a selection of cold meats and cheeses accompanied by wine. I can’t recommend “Alimentari Uffizi” enough for aperitivo, the owner’s son has a farm so he sources all of his products from him. The result is fresh and traditional food made with love.
The cost for a plate of cold meats and cheeses is 25 euros and can easily be shared between four people but if you’re anything like me and have a big appetite, two people is ideal. We also bought a bottle of local Tuscan wine for 25 euros. You are certainly paying for quality and locality. Let me tell you it is so worth it!
https://www.facebook.com/alimentari.uffizi/ – Click on this link for more reviews and information.
For this meal you must eat Fiorentina. This is the cut of meat known as a t-bone and trust me, the people of Florence know how it’s done. Italians eat this meat rare, almost blue and i admit i was very scared at this prospect. Was the cow going to still be mooing? The meat tasted amazing cooked exactly how the Italians cook it. Do not be scared to step outside your comfort zone!
Firorentina can be quite expensive for tourists so to avoid these extra charges i downloaded the app “TheFork” (https://www.thefork.com/). This app is designed for you to book restaurants conveniently and at a discounted price. The restaurant we went to, “IL Grande Nuti” gave us a 20% discount for booking through the app. The restaurant is on the main street leading to the Duomo so it appears quite touristy but we got a table inside and it had a very lovely feel to it. I recommend going to this restaurant for the perfect Fiorentina at a discounted price. 1kg of Fiorentina could be shared between three or four people, at this restaurant 1kg is 48 euros and it is worth every cent that you will pay.
Now that we have all of the most important meals in Florence covered here is another tip for eating… It’s called “Alimentari”! If a restaurant or eatery has this word within the name of the establishment you’re 99% certain to eat amazing food.
I was very lucky that i stayed in a perfect location in Florence. The Airbnb, https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/23888686 was right in the centre and within walking distance to the amazing restaurants that i have mentioned above. I highly recommend spending a little bit extra and staying in this apartment based on its location, cleanliness and the hospitality of the owner.
Florence is really an amazing city, put it on your bucket list and eat like royalty!
– It’s time for you to live now, Ciao! – Abs.