The city of Florence, in the Italian region of Tuscany, draws crowds from around the world with offerings of famous artistic creations, such as the Statue of David, and warm, sunny weather (even in October!). However, it is in its wonderful dining options that the city really excels, thanks to the wealth of gelaterias, trattorias and restaurants scattered throughout the city. If you’re looking to taste some traditional Tuscan fare, Florence is one of the best and most easily accessible spots for you. To help you choose where to go, we’ve picked four of our favorite places to eat in the city.
La Giostra – Back in 1700 La Giostra was the winter storage place for a carousel located in the Piazza dei Ciompi. Now it’s a typical Tuscan trattoria with a cosy atmosphere that is regularly frequented by celebrities from around the world. A favourite with Florentines and visitors alike, this local gem is hidden from the main routes of the city, but offers a romantic and friendly environment for enjoying the Tuscan specialties on offer. With fine dishes, like the pear and pecorino cheese ravioli or baked seabass, as well as a wide wine selection, this is an ideal spot for slow dining and making the most of your time in the city. For a real treat, try the white truffle pasta.
Vivoli – Famous for offering some of the best ice cream in Florence, Vivoli is the oldest gelateria in the city. Half of the premises is an ice cream parlour with tables for sitting and enjoying your delicious treats and the other half is a bar for coffees and cakes. Using fresh ingredients to create a vast array of unique and delicious flavours, this is a great spot for tasting the city’s infamous gelato. It’s highly recommended that you also try the ‘semmifreddi’ as well as the ice cream; these frozen desserts offer a mousse-like consistency with rich flavours like amaretto and tiramisu. You can even take part in ice cream making workshops here if you’re looking to find out more about the fine process behind its creation.
Il Cibrèo – One of the most famous trattorias in Florence, Il Cibrèo offers a range of traditional dishes from the ‘poor’ Tuscan cuisine with menus that follow the rhythm of the seasons. You won’t find any pizzas or pastas in this informal eatery, but local, fresh food with a rustic edge. This is a great spot for tasting the region’s delicious seafood and rich meat dishes and the papa al pomodoro soup is a classic dish that is sure to delight. This reasonably priced trattoria is quite small and you can’t reserve so arrive early, or be prepared for a potential wait for your seat.
L’Osteria di Giovanni – delicious authentic dishes right in the centre of the city by the Arno river; L’Osteria di Giovanni is a little pricier but perfect for a special occasion or for spoiling yourself on the last day of your trip. The home-made raviolini with porcini mushrooms and cream of truffle is not to be missed and the braised rabbit is rich and delicious. For seafood lovers, the restaurant offers what many consider to be some of the best seafood pasta in the city. L’Osteria di Giovanni restaurant is always packed so book ahead and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
If you’re looking for more ideas on where to eat and what to do in Florence, take a look at this useful map of things to do in Tuscany as a guide.