I hope that if you ever find yourself lucky enough to visit Florence, you’ll make a generous amount of room for gelato and pizza and pasta and wine and espresso and more gelato. Don’t be alarmed if you go home a few (maybe more) pounds heavier than when you left. It’ll all be worth it.
Florence’s culinary scene is best experienced over a few days. Much like the art, you can’t expect to get the best of this culturally rich city in one or two meals. But if you absolutely must cram it, here is an EATinerary for a day in Florence, Italy.
For colazione, grab a quick brioche at the unpretentious Forno Pintucci. This bakery is as local as it gets. You’ll find a great selection of traditional cookies, buttery breads, and flavorful foccacias to accompany your morning espresso. They also have chocolate dipped meringue cookies shaped like mushrooms that are exactly my kind of thing. Expect to practice your Italian. Everything from the labels to the owner will test you on this.
Take a snack on the go from one of the many pizzerias lining the cobbled streets like Amici di Ponte Vecchio. If the colorfully fresh selection behind the display window doesn’t entice you, the smells will. Cheap and plentiful choices might make you hard pressed to make only one selection. I won’t blame you if you walk away with more than one slice!
Hop back over the river for pranzo like a local. If you’re not careful, you might pass by the little gem Il Chicco di Caffe. Linger over a plate of their spaghetti al tonno and tall, stemmed glass of vino blanco. Or try the many other fresh dishes they serve up daily. Afterwards, take your riposso here. Or out on the Piazza Santo Spirito, a quick and scenic stroll from the cafe. Odds are, you might catch the last minutes of the daily market which runs from 8 AM to 2 PM. Peruse through a variety of produce, household items and mountains of clothing. If you’re lucky enough to come on the second Sunday of the month, you’ll get to see the piazza transform into an antiques market, brimming and bustling with life.
After your riposso, you’ll need a gelato. Head over to Venchi for guaranteed satisfaction. Skip anything fancy. Order a simple cono loaded with your go-to flavor. Mine are hazelnut or yogurt. Or both, layered into a sweet and crunchy waffle cone.
For cena, try Caffe Pitti, named appropriately for its extreme proximity to Palazzo Pitti. If weather permits, dine al-fresco on their covered patio. Take your time. Dinner in Italy is slow and savored, after all. Enjoy classic dishes like gnocchi with shrimp and traditional osso buco by candlelight. Don’t forget dessert and a digestif!
Yes, I am perfectly serious about eating in excess. YOLO, right?