The historical quarter of San Giovanni covers the roads that lead strategically from the Spiritual Centre of Florence from Piazza S.Giovanni where you can can admire the outstanding architectural master piece the Baptistery of San Giovanni – Named after the patron saint of Florence ‘St John’, Santa Maria Del Fiore Cathedral to iconic bridge of that crosses the Arno River ‘The Ponte Vecchio’
Like most famous cities the best local meals are not going to be on the main streets and squares although because we are in Italy you can even find great locations on high street roads.Check out a few of my favourites
Caffe – Bar
Via dei Brunelleschi 16r
The typical 1950’s style Italian bar where you can see original images of the bar during the flood of 1966. A local stop for a caffe. I typically stop in for a quick lunch they have great panini. One of my favourites is with butter and anchovy perfect with a glass of chianti!
Coronas Cafe Firenze
Via dei Calzaiuoli 72r
In the heart of the city centre you will find this family run Caffe that serves artisanal gelato, brioche, great coffee and snacks.
Gucci Museum and Bar
Piazza della Signoria 10
The palace of the original guilds of Florence in the middle ages. I love walking inside this incredible time of history to see the original crests of the major and minor industries of the 12th century.
The perfect cappuccino stop and it is even paying more to sit and check out their selection of books. Impeccable service and great coffee
Piazza della Signoria 5/r
Open in 1872 by Enrico Rivoire as a chocolate shop with its magnificent outdoor seating overlooking one of the most beautiful squares in the city. Ideal for hot or cold chocolate. Great coffee, chocolates and other sweets.
If you are around for aperitivo you may be lucky to have head barista Luca Picchi – make you one of the best Negroni’s in town.
The Fusion Bar & Restaurant
Vicolo del Oro 3
If you have been in Italy for a while and feel the need of ethnic cuisine this is the perfect place for you. With out a doubt Fusion Bar & restaurant is one of the best sushi restaurants in town. If you want to continue with typical local fare be sure to just drop in to the bar for a cocktail. Sit at the bar if you find a seat where you can enjoy watching the barista make some of the most divine cocktails you will find in Florence or perhaps in Italy!
Cantinetta da Verazzano
Via dei Tavolini 18/20r
This place is a wine bar, bakery and cafe could you ask for any more! You can find one of my favourite local coffee brands Caffe Piansa – great cappuccino in the morning and if you don’t feel like coffee they also have a selection of freshly squeezed juices. Be sure to try fresh pomegranate juice when in season.
The breads and typical Florentine biscuits are all delicious. You can sit at the enoteca for a glass of Chianti Classico, cheese and salumi platters, there is also a dining area with table service for breakfast and lunch or you can sit at the benches in the entry and admire all of the yummy cakes, biscuits and breads!
Via delle Oche 27/29/31r
This family fun store has a huge selection of italian food, wine and liqueurs. Head downstairs to discover one of the largest wine cellars in Florence! you will find a suburb selection of French & Italian wines and they also ship!!
After you have enjoyed wandering around take a seat at their enoteca for a glass of wine or a taste of the best spritz in town!! taste their crostini with seasonal toppings cheese and meat platters or the highest quality. Closes at 7.00pm
Piazza dell’Olio 15
One of the oldest original wine bars in town. It’s name ‘Fiaschetteria’ refers to the original straw based chianti bottle called a ‘fiasco’. Owner Rossana Nuvola has owned the wine bar – osteria for over 30 years.
Stop in for a quick bite of local crostini including chicken liver pate and a glass of wine. The perfect place for a first course for lunch with a glass of wine. There is a downstairs area where you can take small groups. A reasonable regional wine selection for the type of food you can taste at Fiaschetteria Nuvola.
Perchè no – Gelateria
Via dei Tavolini 19r
A family run artisanal gelato shop. The products are recognised by slow food. The gelato is made daily and the sorbet selection are seasonal fruits. I love their lavender and pistachio from Bronte. True artisan flavor simply delicious
Caffe delle Carrozze
Piazza di Santo Stefano
Walking toward the Ponte Vecchio along Por S.Maria on your right you will find Caffe delle Carrozze that serves delicious artisanal gelato.
Via Lambertesca 18/r
My favourite gelateria. Gelato maker and owner Simone Bonini is an excellent gelato maker. The seasonal sorbets are a treat including his chocolate sorbet. He also creates a selection of savoury gelato the parmigiano is perfect to take home and serve with a warm tarte – tatin. He also has gelateria in Rome – Campo dei Fiori.
Via dei Cimatori 38/r
In the top five of ‘the best panino in town’. I Fratellini is one of the few original ‘Fiaschetteria’ – wine bars in the city. It serves a fantastic selection of tasty rolls with typical local salumi, cheese and more to be washed down with their decent house red wine or you can even enjoy a glass of Brunello while being amused by the owners.
Via Lambertesca 10
The charming and friendly owner Alessandro serves a selection of delicious panini, salumi and cheese platters. Primarily a delicatessen where locals buy their meats, cheeses, bread and wine you can also taste fantastic flavours coming from Alessandros son’s farm in Narni where they breed ‘cinta senese’ an ancient pig. Enjoy local flavours including finocchiona, prosciutto toscana, sopprasata and more. Open seven days a week until around 6.30pm.
Via dei Georgofili 3r/7r
Owner Alessandro Frassica is the king of the panino. Excellent flavours and huge sized warm sandwiches. Food products are mostly National and recognised by slow food. How can you go wrong when your housewine is coming from Montevertine only one of the best Wine Estates in Tuscany! there are also a great selection of Italian Soda and kraft Beers. A little more expensive than your typical street food panino although worth every bite.
Via del Parione 19r
Like they say in Italian ‘Un – Ciccio’ a little gem is the best way to explain Alimentari Mariano. Run by Mariano Orizi together with his wife and son create delicious panini, crostini of local flavour. Known for one of the best White Truffle paste you can find in the city. What is so wonderful about this charming Delicatessen, wine bar, cafe is you can pop in any time of the day open in the morning for breakfast serving great coffee, perfect for a quick bite for lunch and even better on your way home for a glass of wine and a few crostini.
Via dei Girolami 28
The restaurant of the Goldsmiths. The place where the nearby goldsmiths working on the Pontevecchio would lunch.
By far one of the best local restaurants in town. Delicious hand made gnudi served with butter and sage sauce. Mouthwatering meat dishes and fresh perfectly baked desserts coming from a tiny kitchen.
The restaurant only has around 10 tables to you must always make a reservation. Evening shifts run from 7.00pm or 9.00pm seating.
Via dei Georgofolli 11r
Superb dining at this 1 star michelin restaurant. The tasting menu’s are typically my favourite for this type of dining experience. I love how Chef Marco Stabile combines seasonal local and national flavours in perfect contemporary style. A fantastic restaurant be sure to book soon before it becomes a 2 star !
Trattoria Antico Fattore
Via Lambertesca 3
There is something special about an Italian restaurant where you have the classic old-school waiters that have probably worked at the restaurant since it opened. Pavarotti playing in the background and enjoying a true Florentine sirloin on a bed of rucola with a glass of chianti classico.
Part of the Association of Historical Activities this fantastic venue is the perfect place to taste true Florentine fair. If you are in town during Fungi Porcini season be sure to book a table where you can enjoy grilled porcini or as a first course with hand made tagliatelle
Lungarno degli Acciaioli 2
Another Lungarno Collection venue that is the perfect place for lunch or any time of the day. The restaurant serves delicate and high end selections of fresh and seasonal produce with a contemporary flair. With new head chef Peter Brunel from just over the Ponte Vecchio at Ferragamo’s 1 star Michelin J-Ristorante selecting plates for Caffe dell’Oro you really can not go wrong. Open for meals 11am to 11pm
Il Borro Bistrot
Lungarno deli Acciaioli 80r
One of my favourite restaurants in Florence. You will be sure this meal will not disappoint. A gorgeous location along the Arno river part of the Ferragamo – Spini Ferroni Palace. This clean cut venue with traditional flair is every foodies idea of heaven. I especially love restaurants where you can see the kitchen. This kitchen that overlooks the dining rooms where you can see the neat chefs preparing fresh seasonal meals.
Manager Fabio and his staff serve perfect meals anytime of the day from 11am – 11pm. You can even stop in for a glass of wine and a taste of Tuscan Prosciutto, Spanish – Jamon Iberico or if you are a cheese lover you can taste aged ‘drunk cheese’ from Piedmont and other local flavours
Via del Parione 28r
The concept of the Venetian historical cafe situated in Piazza San Marco Florian since 1720 arrived in Florence a few years ago. A great option for a light lunch or even for a lovely romantic dinner.
I love the cicchetti plates to start with a cocktail. The food is delicious with variations of raw fish, carpaccio, delicious first courses that take you back to the grand canal and enjoying the grandeur of Venetian contemporary style.