Travel

Florence – Dining and Shopping Paradise

In my last post I talked about my exciting trip to Florence. In this post I want to tell you some of the dining and shopping experiences I had in Florence.
Pizzadough-balls-at-Neromo-Florence

Inside the Luisa Via Roma store

Inside the Luisa Via Roma store

Dining

Love of Italian food is universal, everyone has a favorite Italian dish, whether it be a pizza topping or a pasta sauce -Italian food is eaten by everyone everywhere. Tuscany with it’s wines, olives and olive oil is especially famous for food. Truffles are in many dishes and are used as shaved toppings on pasta or as sandwich spreads.

The places we had good dining experiences in were Il Sanito Bevitore www.ilsantobevitore.com we went to this popular restaurant on our first night in Florence.The place was packed it seemed like the whole of America on spring break was at Santo Bevitore.The food is good authentic Tuscan.
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Wine at Santo Bevitore, Florence

As we were staying south of the Arno River we ended up going to the restaurants in the local neighborhood after dinner every night we went to Liberia cafe www.lacitelibreria.info for coffee before calling it a night. This place is a book store, bar and coffee shop. Dimly lit the place has a underground, indie vibe. Even though the place is tiny they made room for live music one night, the owner asked if we wanted to learn Brazilian samba.
Inside Liberiacafe, Florence
A must stop is Procacci www.procacci1885.it A small absolutely beautiful wine bar, gourmet grocery store and coffee shop- the inside space has four high tables with stools. The bar is located on the quiet swanky Via de Tornauoni. Prosecco is available everywhere in Florence, but my favorite prosecco was here at Procacci. the small truffle brioche sandwiches are impossible to stop eating.

Mini truffle sandwiches in Procacci

Mini truffle sandwiches in Procacci

The tastiest food I had was in Cibrio Trattoria www.cibreo.com this small 30 seat restaurant located on the eastern part of the city has a limited menu but everything is extremely delicious.
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Il Borro Toscanna www.ilborrotuscanbistro.it was a bistro we went to a lot for snacks and pre-dinner drinks. The location is gorgeous on the banks of the Arno River. This place served some the best selection of cheese and Tuscan cold cuts we had in Florence.
Cheese and cold cuts in IL Borro Florence

My tips for eating and dining in Florence:-

– Avoid ordering pizza. This is not the region for pizza. I had pizza twice – it was good but nothing extraordinary. Rather, order dishes like ribollita, a vegetable and bread soup that is on every menu especially lunch menu’s. The pasta is good and mostly it is housemade by the restaurants.
Finger foods such as cold cuts and cheeses are on every menu – we had these charcuterie plates as snacks with drinks between meals.

– It is well worth doing a little research into the best places to eat before going. From my experience just because you are in Italy does not mean every place has great Italian food. I want every meal to be good so I take recommendations from friends, blogs, magazines, trip advisor.

– It is well worth walking a little extra to find the small out of the way places. This is where the best food is. For example to find Cibrio we had to go out of our way and walk the extra mile but it was worth it for the food, which was extremely tasty.

Shopping

Florence has a history of craftsmanship especially with leather. the luxury fashion houses of Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Pucci and Salvatore Faragamo all started in Florence. I think what is special however, is when you go to a shopping destination that is only found in Florence. Below are the best Florentine retailers I went to.

Even if you are not interested in Perfume it is still well worth visiting Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella www.smnovella.com this shop is around the corner from Santa Maria Novella church and is part museum, part perfume shop and part cafe. The building is old and beautiful.
Perfumes of Santa Maria Novella, Florence

Inside the Aqua Flor perfume shop

Inside the Aqua Flor perfume shop

The other perfume shop I visited on the east side of Florence was called Aqua Flore www.florence.it housed in a beautiful old monastery with a courtyard. The building is worth seeing and smelling. If you are looking for gifts – soaps, perfumes, candles, incense sticks, there will be something for you at these perfume stores.

Outside the Aqua Flor perfume shop

Outside the Aqua Flor perfume shop

If you want to buy luxury goods there are plenty of options in Florence. The exclusive Via de Tornabuoni has all the designer labels but worth a visit is a Florentine institution Luisa Via Roma www.luisaviaroma.com. This retailer, stocked full of mid to high end labels, has been outfitting Florentines since 1930.

Outside the Luisa Via Roma store

Outside the Luisa Via Roma store

Inside Luisa Via Roma, Florence

Aquazzara shoes www.acquazzura.com are available world wide. Barneys here in the America carries the collection but the company is based in Florence. The shoes are designed at the company store which is located on the Lungarno Corsini. If you want to splash out and treat yourself these fabulously fashionable footwear are around 20% cheaper in Florence.

Shoes in Aquazzura, Florence

Shoes in Aquazzura, Florence

Shoes in Aquazzara, Florence

Shoes in Aquazzara, Florence

Florence is a city I will most definitely go back to. I love to try new places so if you have any recommendations please let me know.

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