From semi-sweet truffle teasers to jaw-dropping views. We’ve rounded up the most savory eateries and magnificent landmarks to explore during your visit to Florence.
Words by Jennifer Papa
Discover Florence at dawn. Tranquility and grandeur are words that come to mind while walking through the city’s near-empty streets. A spellbinding symphony from a dozen clock towers echo through the alleys as if applauding the world’s most lavish outdoor museum. Let the aroma of freshly grounded coffee beans guide you to Café Rivoire, the place to kick start your day. Savor a cappuccino and a brioche, the Italian version of the French croissant, while enjoying some shameless people spotting together with the locals.
After popping in and out some of the city’s many must-see museums and landmarks, including Opera del Duomo, Uffizi gallery, Vasari corridor and Boboli gardens, do as the Florentines: grab a pre-lunch appetizer. Divine truffle paninos and a glass of Prosecco at Procacci in Via Tornabuoni come highly recommended. As does an unmistakable Bellini cocktail at the famed Harry’s Bar, should you be so inclined.
A drink and canapé later and you’ll be ready for lunch. Zeb Gastronomia is the obvious stop to refuel before hiking up to the ever-glorious Piazzale Michelangelo and the spectacular Church San Miniato al Monte. Trattoria Cibreo, Il Borro and Cantinetta dei Verrazzano are great alternatives for those who wish to indulge in lip-smacking dishes and picturesque settings. For a more vibrant vibe head to the newly restored indoor market Mercato Centrale, in the San Lorenzo neighborhood, where artisan street food is served daily from 10 am to midnight.
Lunch is finished and it’s time to take a break from renaissance arts and dive into a more contemporary fashion scene. For a small city, Florence has it all, including exclusive designer brands (most of them on Via Tornabuoni), ancient craft perfumeries, gutsy independent boutiques, plus a strong tradition of handcrafted objects. Concept boutiques such as Luisa Via Roma, Gerard Loft and Flow Run are fun and well worth a stop. Can’t get enough of antiques? Spare a visit to the many antique shops located on the south and less crowded side of the Arno river on the streets of Via dei Fossi (don’t miss to stop by our gentleman’s room), Via Santo Spirito and Via Maggio. Remember to check out the antique market at piazza Santo Spirito every second Sunday of the month.
Nowhere in Florence can you get an afternoon tea quite as scrumptious as at the Four Seasons. With its luxurious mahogany bar, continental furniture and pompous decor, it is the obvious spot to rest your legs after hours of exploring and marveling. Visit the roof top bars of hotel Continentale and The Westin Excelsior for a pre-dinner appetizer with a splendid view, enjoy a Negroni at JK Place (make sure to ask Andrea Pieri for his best Florence tips), or grab a cab to luscious Villa San Michele where live piano music adds a soothing tone to the evening.
To the highlight of the day—dinner. Or as we say in Italy, l’ora della cena. You’ll find heavenly Tuscan dishes such as earthy fresh porcini served raw and glossed with lemon and olive oil, buttery pumpkin and amaretto ravioli, and a savory braised squab, paired with impressive wine lists, a local vibe and all-round good ambience at Trattoria Cammillo, Cantinetta Antinori, Buca Mario, Buca Lapi, Osteria delle Tre Panche and Café Cibreo. For Michelin starred dishes visit La Bottega del Buon Caffè, Ora d’aria and Enoteca Pinchiorri. Happy times.
Stay: Four Seasons, JK Place, St Regis, Savoy, Villa Cora, Villa San Michele