It’s no secret that Italians take their food and beverages seriously.
Pasta must be cooked perfectly ‘al dente’, it’s shape perfectly paired with the sauce that coats it, wine which must be expertly blended and only produced from traditional grapes from the region where they grow best, recipes are just as they have been passed down through the ages.
And each day begins with a coffee ? the only time of day that most Italians will drink a cappuccino. During the day, the coffee is usually an espresso meaning that it must be expertly made.
Coffee shops, known as ‘bars’ in Italian, are the local meeting point, where locals gather not just to have a coffee (and perhaps a little sweet pastry ? a ‘brioche’), but also to socialise, to catch up on local news (and gossip), and in the evening to have a pre-dinner drink, before returning after dinner for a post-meal coffee, and perhaps a digestive grappa or the like!
Being that Artviva strives to ensure visits to Italy are as authentic as possible, our Artviva Florence Destination Expert has comprised a list of the Best Historic Café/Bar Picks for Florence.
Piazza della Repubblica 36 ? 39R.
This exclusive café was founded by a Swiss family in 1733 ? the original café was in Via Calzaiuoli, then on the corner of Via Speziali ? it moved to the actual site in the 1920’s, as can be seen by the furnishing, typical of the era. Café Gilli is the only remaining café in ‘Belle Epoque’ style in Florence. Frequented by writers and artists, just after the second world war, the famous photo by Ruth Orkin of the “American girl in Italy” was taken here. Definitely one of the best coffee bars in town.
CAFFE GIUBBE ROSSE
Piazza della Repubblica 13 ? 14R
This café was founded in 1897 by the Reninghaus brothers ? German beer producers, who according to the Viennese tradition of the time had waiters with red jackets. Florentines would thus say “Let’s go to those wearing red jackets” (‘giubbe rosse’) as the surname was hard to pronounce. It has always been favoured by the local German community. Amongst the famous writers who came here in the past include Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, Franz Kafka and a young Vladimir Lenin. In 1913 a famous fight took place here between opposing members of the artistic Futuristic movement.
Piazza della Repubblica 31 ? 35R
This café was founded in 1848 by a Polish family specialised in selling beer. It later became known as ‘Café Concerto Paszkowski’ for the musical events that were often performed here, and still continue to this day. It has also been very popular with writers and poets of the past. The interior still maintains an early 1900’s style, and since 1991 has been considered one of the national monuments of Florence.
Piazza della Signoria 5R
This café was founded in 1872 by Enrico Rivoire who came from Turin. It became (and still is) very famous for the hot chocolate served here ? typical of northern Italy. Definitely one of the best bars in Florence ? not only for the excellent chocolate and desserts, but also for the exclusive positioning in front of Palazzo Vecchio.
If you’d like to get to know more about great places in Florence, we have the small-group walking tour with a great English-speaking tour guide, the Original Florence Walk.
Artiva also organise small-group art tours such as our Masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery Tour including skip-the-line entry to the Uffizi Gallery plus a fantastic tour guide to bring the artworks to life!
To see what is often declared to be the most important work of art ever created ?Michelangelo’s statue of David- we have the Original David Tour which includes skip-the-line Accademia entry and a great tour guide who will also show you other sites in Florence pertitent to Michelangelo’s David.
If you would like to immerse yourself in the Tuscan scenery that has inspired so many great artworks, we have a small-group Best of Tuscany tour visiting Siena, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni, and stopping for lunch and wine tasting at an award-winning wine estate. See the highlights of Tuscany in one spectacular day tour from Florence ? Best of Tuscany small-group tour.
For the Best of Tuscany tour, Uffizi Gallery and Accademia guided tours, plus a city walk tour (our acclaimed Original Florence Walk small-group guided walking tour in Florence’s historic city centre), we have a great discounted Florence and Tuscany tours package.
The Best of Florence and Tuscany discount tours package includes Original Florence Walk tour of Florence, the Masterpieces of the Uffizi Gallery tour, the Accademia tour and the Best of Tuscany full-day tour from Florence to Tuscany in one fabulous discount tours package.
You can also see where the makers of the Mona Lisa and David worked and played, see where Leonardo da Vinci tested his historic flying machine and the shaded hillside stone works where Michelangelo learned his craft on our Perfect Morning in Tuscany small-group walking tour. Leaving from Florence’s city centre and heading to the surrounding countryside, this small-group walking tour includes, well, walking in Tuscany, as well as lunch with wine at a stunning Renaissance Villa Estate, accompanied by an expert tour guide.