Wondering how to stay cool while enjoying a great Florentine dinner?
There is only one answer: stay outside and away from the steaming indoor ovens.
There are plenty of options for dining alfresco-we've included our favorites here.
Piazza Pitti, 9r - 055/2399863
This chic café is located directly across from the enormous Pitti Palace and the adjacent Boboli Gardens. It functions throughout the day as a typical Florentine bar-albeit a little more ornate-but the evening is when things really get interesting. Depending on the night, there could be live music.
Via dei Vellutini, 1r, Piazza della Passera - 055/218562
Tucked into a tiny Oltrarno piazza, Trattoria 4 Leoni offers the perfect mix of locals and tourists heartily enjoying their Tuscan specialties. Big, white umbrellas provide the right amount of shade for diners sitting in the piazza.
Piazza S.Spirito 6r - 055/210437
Restaurant/pizzeria with tables facing the facade of Santo Spirito. It may not be the coolest place temperature-wise to eat in August, but the generous portions and quality pizzas at a fair price make it a good place to go.
Via Monte Alle Croci 10r - 055/2342483
Huge crostoni and yellow paper on the tables make this a classic for good eats with friends in the open Florentine air.
Villa Bardini, Costa San Giorgio 6 - 055/2008444
Enjoy Florence from a different perspective at this newly opened terrace café connected to the contemporary art museum at Villa Bardini. Boasting innovative dishes and fashionable cocktails, it is the perfect place for a light meal or an aperitivo on a warm summer evening.
BORGO SAN JACOPO (BSJ)
Borgo San Jacopo 62r - 055/281661
The Oscar for the best tables in all of Florence go to the beautiful Hotel Lungarno restaurant: the two tables on the mini-terrace facing the Ponte Vecchio are so dramatic they could be the stage for an opera. You'll have to book in advance and sell your mama to have a shot at one of them, but it could be the highlight of your summer dining experience.
FOUR SEASONS HOTEL
Borgo Pinti 99 - 055/2626450
If you are looking to treat yourself to a leisurely lunch or dinner in the shade of centuries-old trees in a Renaissance era garden, then this is your place. The two huge terraces with pool views are ideal for those who want to escape from the heat of the city and enjoy chef Vito Mollica's fresh summer menu.
A bit outside of the city
Trattoria Le Cave di Maiano
Via Cave di Maiano, 16 - Maiano (Fiesole) - 055/59133
This Tuscan country trattoria in the village of Maiano is reached by Ataf bus #7; however, reaching it from there requires walking almost a mile up a winding country road. On a cool day, the walk can be pleasant; if the scorching August heat is pounding down, however, spend the few extra euro for a taxi. The trattoria itself consists of a converted farmhouse and a tree-shaded terrace with views of the Fiesole hills (but not of the city of Florence); the food is excellent.
Via Serpiolle 7 - 055/4250044
A solid choice for modern Tuscan cooking with an extraordinary view of Florence.
Via della Docciola 14, Cercina - 055/402042
Driving up the Sesto hills is like taking a mini-vacation...the fried goodness of the dishes is the grand prize.
GELATERIE short list
Indulge in an affordable luxury. There is no doubt that those coming from other parts of the world will find Italy expensive in all sectors except for two: great coffee and homemade gelato. Since this is the summer issue, we've put together a list (not nearly complete!) as a starting point for your marathon of chocolate and vanilla, lemon and pistacchio in this boiling heat. Send us your reviews and let us know which ones are worth listing next time!
Viale dei Mille 20r - 055/578682
Via Ricasoli 60r - 055/289476
Piazza Oberdan 2r (near Piazza Beccaria) - 055/676930
Via Ramazzini 35r - 055/677554
Via Doni 18r - 055/3245806
GELATERIA LA CARRAIA
Piazza Sauro 25r - 055/280695
GELATERIA DE' MEDICI
Via dello Statuto 3/5r - 055/475156
GELATERIA DEI NERI
Via dei Neri 26r - 055/210034
Via Erbosa 70 (Gavinana) - 055/689007
Via del Campanile - 055/216158
Via dei Servi 41r - 055/2398470
Via dei Tavolini 19r - 055/2398969
Borgo degli Albizi 11r - 055/2340374
Via Isola delle Stinche 7 - 055/292334