Don’t come to Florence to lose weight. Although if you love walking as much as you love eating, then you’ll find that the city is a natural gym and you’ll stay trim enough. Florence has an inherent food culture where life revolves around the next meal, where seasonal ingredients are the only ones in the kitchen and where quality and flavour are tantamount. Here are our tips to eat your way through the city.
Go grocery shopping
The markets of Florence simply have to be experienced by any self-respecting foodie. Get up early and experience the colours and aromas, the bartering and the chatter on the ground floor of Mercato Centrale or Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio. If you’re staying in an apartment, cook your own meals with the produce you purchase. Take a tour to learn about Italian fruit and vegetables, cuts of meat and the right pasta to use with the right sauces.
Get out of town
Hire a car (and appoint a designated driver!) and enjoy an afternoon at Antinori’s strikingly contemporary Chianti Classico winery. Take a bus to Siena and explore Enoteca Italiana (piazza Libertà 1, Siena) after strolling around the city’s myriad sights. Catch a train to Arezzo and explore the town’s countless excellent eateries after feeding your artistic soul at Ivan Bruschi House Museum. Alternatively, take the stress out of it all and join a food tour, such as the VIP olive oil experience organized by Ciao Florence.
Aperitivo by the Arno
Watch the sun set over the river while sipping a Negroni or a glass of Vermentino wine and a buffet of delicious morsels. Rivalta (lungarno Corsini 14R) is the place to people watch in the summer months as Florentines begin their evening among friends. Sesto sull’Arno (rooftop bar of The Westin Excelsior, piazza Ognissanti 3) affords heart-stoppingly sublime views over the city and some of the city’s best cocktails. Or head to the city’s beach, Easy Living (lungarno Benvenuto Cellini 69R), and raise a superb mojito to the most beautiful city in the world.
In Florence you generally eat well everywhere, but read up on old favourites and new entries via The Florentine’s food+wine column. Join locals for a lampredotto panini from the food truck in piazza Sant’Ambrogio or piazza del Mercato Nuovo, or from Nerbone at the central market. Yes, it’s offal, the fourth stomach of the cow, but it’s authentic Florentine street food as its best. Sink your teeth into a bistecca fiorentina at Trattoria Sostanza (via del Porcellana 25R) or Alla Vecchia Bettola (via Vasco Pratolini 3), which boasts some exceptional wine labels at unexceptional prices.