FLORENCE FOR THE CURIOUS
The ultimate list of cool spots in our hood
Luckily our nearest morning coffee spot also happens to be our favourite homewares store, our favourite flower shop, and our favourite live music venue! Stop in here for a macchiato and an omelette as your first stop of the day - or park yourself on the sofa with a cocktail on the way home while their resident DJ gets things warmed up for the evening.
Santa Rosa Bistrot
Not just for vegetarians, this adorable garden cafe is the favourite hidden lunch spot for many Fiorentinos. A gem in the San Frediano District - just walk along the river on the San Frediano side and with the Ponte Vecchio behind you, cross the stone gate and you will see it.
A perfect spot for coffee and brunch, this place earns extra points with coffee nerds for it's ethically sourced beans and expert baristas - just ask and they will be happy to help you choose the perfect variety. For the hungry, we recommend the chestnut & ricotta pancakes or the classic avocado toast. If the weather is good, ask to sit outside!
The hand-written sign says it all: "No Ketchup, No fries, No Wi-fi." For those looking to skip the Italian-American tourist traps, this is your spot to sample everything the regional Tuscan menu has to offer. Book a table in the cantina for a romantic evening, or pull up a chair next to a local in the main room. The cantina is decorated with wines and signs against rival football team - Juventus. A true Fiorentine delight.
Mondays, Tuesdays, Wedensdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, SundaysMercato Centrale
This upscale food market defines itself as a 'hub' for all who love food, revolving around artisans of taste and their expertise in an original and simple style. The perfect place to grab a gift or simply to sample fresh artisanal foods prepared right before your eyes. If you prefer something a bit more off the beaten track, hit up Sant'Ambrogio Market.
Located a few steps from Pizza del Carmine, I'Brindellone is a must for food. Classic tuscan dishes included boar ragu, fried brains and tripe. This place is always packed and for good a reason. The food is indulgent, delicious and affordable. A must go to for classic Florentine dishes.
It turns out Italy's gift for amazing food extends far beyond the cuisine for which it is known. This unique spot has managed to marry one half Italian cafe / one half ramen restaurant. If this sounds questionable, just ask anyone in the queue that forms around opening time (19:00). Many dishes run out in the first hour (always a great sign of freshness), so arrive before 20:00 if you want to eat well.
Stumble into this surprisingly authentic Tex-Mex joint for a delicious infusion of tacos to quench your hunger. Taco Tuesdays offer 3 for the price of two - we like the Frida Kahlo Tacos with salmon, mango and pomodorini. Watch out, their margaritas are a force to be reckoned with!
There are a few 'musts' when staying in Florence, and when you're this close to Michaelangelo's David, seeing the most famous sculpture of all time is a no-brainer. Our favourite thing to do is show up early and have the galleries all to ourselves.From €39
Barbiere Storico Firenze
We bet you've seen old style barbershops before, but this is the real deal. Step back in time and treat yourself to a shave with a warm towel - followed by a cup of espresso. There's no substitute for decades of experience behind the straight razor, and fortunately, the prices here don't seem to have changed in all that time.
This imposing palace - completed in the latter 15th Century - is one of Florence's largest architectural monuments and among the most important museums in town. To get a sense of the size here, just consider that upon its design, each of the windows was ordered to be larger than the main door to the palace of the largest rival patron of the day! Burn!From €50
Luisa Via Roma
If you'd like to pay a visit to your friends Miu Miu, Versace and Saint Laurent, stop into this ultra-chic boutique for the ultimate retail experience. Originally a hat shop that opened up in 1930, the shop boasts one of the biggest off-the runway luxury collections. Recently they've just opened up a cafe, quickly gathering a big following as a perfect brunch spot. Whether you want to shop the latest runway looks or enjoy a Bloody Mary, this is a staple of Florentine fashion culture you cannot miss.
Bargello National Museum
Talk about a hidden treasure! One of the most overlooked museums in Florence, this former prison was later established as Italy's first national museum in 1865. Yes, this is where you can see Donatello's (famously homoerotic) David, as well as stunning tapestries and ceramics, but sometimes we come just for the architecture...and the total lack of tourists.
Cinema Odeon Firenze
Seeing a film in a foreign city is a luxury all of its own, but do so in this stunning piece of landmark architecture and you get two experiences for the price of one. Besides, any stage that was good enough for Ella Fitzgerald to perform on is good enough for us! Check out an exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi around the corner if you have a bit of time to kill before the next film starts.
Museo di Antropologia Ed Etnologia
We have a special place in our hearts for museums that are lost in time, and this natural history museum is a prime example of why. With wonderfully dated displays ranging from botany to zoology and mineralogy to palaeontology, our favourites are the anatomical wax models used to aid doctors in the 17th - 19th centuries.
Uffizi Gallery Tour
If you're going to visit one museum in Florence, and you really ought to, then the Uffizi is it. Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Raphael, Titian...the only trouble is tourists queue up for HOURS just to get tickets. But you're not a tourist - that's why you went online and shelled out a few extra Euros to book in advance, right? Ace.From €50
Enoteca Alla Sosta Dei Papi
Time to drink like a local: rock up to this place around 19:00, pull up a table on the pavement and order yourself a glass of €3 wine with crostini. Feeling peckish? Treat yourself to some Tagliere - a meat and cheese platter that somehow never tastes as good outside of Tuscany!
Situated in a hidden apartment, as the name suggests, this cosy establishment is the perfect neighbourhood spot whether you’re a local by birth or just for the week. Sink into a soft armchair and peruse the courses on offer - jewellery, pottery, print-making, and theatre. If you’re just passing through, stop by for movie night or a concert. Just ring the "L'appartamento" doorbell downstairs, as you would at a friend's house.
Whether you come for the ambience, the cocktails, the crepes, the live music, the healthy fresh juices, the cheesecake...you get the picture. Every night ends at Volume because the vibe just has a way of making everyone feel at home. But if you're sitting at the bar, ask for Bekim.
La Cité, Libreria Caffè
Located in Borgo San Frediano, the 'coolest neighbourhood' in Florence, this funky space has it all. By day it's a study spot with a great selection of books to explore - by night it becomes a wine bar with live concerts ranging from the Balkans, jazz, Forro, and Italian songwriters.
Orti del Parnaso
This place is also called "Dragon Garden", a name that derives from the bizarre sculpture inside this small green area: a snake-dragon fountain that winds along a stairway. Lower than Forte Belvedere or Piazzale Michelangelo, even from here you can enjoy a complete view of the city.