Via Nazionale is a major thoroughfare, with all the noisy traffic and scummy sidewalks that such a designation entails.

Blinded by the quainter quarters of bella Firenze, it's easy to overlook what this sizable strip has to offer—namely, that it's littered with the utilitarian shops and services that go unlisted in the "moving-to-Tuscany manual." After a trip to the hardware store or gadget haven, you’ll also have your pick of places to drink and dine nearby. Talk about a “smart street.”

 

Bilance Carretti
Via Nazionale 160r | Tel. 055496305
Admit it: since you first saw a Tuscan butcher fine-tuning some finocchiona, you’ve wanted your own fancy meat slicer for homemade tagliere time. Not the case? This shop is still guaranteed to have something you can use at home or in the workplace. From industrial, electronic and kitchen scales to pasta makers, cash registers and indoor grills, Bilance Carretti sells a mix of practical food machinery, appealing to catering companies
as well as home cooks. Founded in 1870, the shop also repairs vintage Berkel-brand scales and
meat slicers.

 

Ferramenta Leoni
Via Nazionale 94r | Tel. 055294124–2648106
Stepping into Ferramenta Leoni will take you back to your hometown  hardware store, with the same friendly handymen faces and tool-lined, paneled walls. Hammers, nails and door handles hardly scratch the surface: here, you’ll find magnets and brass doorknobs, citofono nameplates and seasonal essentials like mosquito screens. Ferramenta Leoni is a name you’ll want to know in a pinch: when your decades-old oven handle snaps off hours before dinner with the in-laws or a cabinet door goes kaput just as your landlord scoots away for the summer. It’s a gold mine for when household wares all need replacing
at once. 

 

Mostodolce
Via Nazionale 114r | Tel. 0552302928
Beer aficionados in Tuscany have sworn by Mostodolce since 2003, when its brewery and first bar opened in Prato. The Florence location recently got a facelift, and its new aesthetic is decidedly less “dive bar” than days past. The beer menu, however, has barely budged: you’ll still find classics like the Belgian-style “Martellina,” crafted with Val di Bisenzio chestnut honey, and stout substitute Black Doll, with hints of chocolate and coffee. Swish them down with the hearty hamburgers, crispy coccoli or savory crostoni—you’ll find the food is as varied as the crowd.

 

Braciere Malatesta
Via Nazionale 36 | Tel. 055215164
The paint has barely dried at this giant trattoria, which underwent a complete restyling in recent weeks, but its mouthwatering grilled meats have kept the doors revolving. With multiple rooms and an expansive patio, two gardens and an updated, chic look, Malatesta is the perfect venue for a large group dinner, fusing modern style with traditional, Tuscan crowd-pleasing cuisine. Brace a carbone has been their main claim to fame since 1954, but you can also indulge in wood oven-fired pizza, vegetables and dozens of other delicacies.

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