• Travel

Eat like a local in Florence

  • 02.10.2017

Renaissance history weaves its way through almost every aspect of Florentine life and food, much of which has changed little since the days of Dante. The city’s best-loved dishes are rooted in a rustic, rather unadorned cuisine, which is proudly and simply prepared according to tradition and season. The weather in May is ideal for alfresco dining; warm and sunny but without the relentless heat of the summer. Explore one of the city’s many gardens with a gelato in hand, or head to the Tuscan countryside for Cantine Aperte. This is where winemakers from all over Italy open their cellars for visitors to taste and explore their wines.


Caffè Gilli
Start the day with a breakfast of Florentine champions at this grand and historic institution, with its Murano chandeliers and frescoed ceilings. Choose warm pastries from the dizzying selection at the front counter.
This stylish spot in Oltrarno serves some of the best baked goods in town. Try local specialities such as pan di ramerino (sultana and rosemary buns) or cecina (flatbreads made from chickpea flour).


Florence does panini very well, as this cupboard-sized spot near the Sant’Ambrogio market proves. It’s a carb-lover’s dream – you’ll struggle to choose from the unique fillings, but you won’t find the house-made duck ravioli panini anywhere else.
Piazza Ghiberti 44r
This is a real gem. Perch at the modern, wrap-around deli counter and order wines by the glass and excellent cappellacci (fresh filled pasta).


Cibrèo Trattoria
Known to locals as ‘Cibreino’ (to distinguish it from its fancier sibling next door), this trattoria delivers refined Florentine classics (think pillowy-soft chicken and ricotta meatballs) in a casual setting.
A mainstay of the Florence dining scene, this charming trattoria hasn’t changed in decades. Dishes of tortellini in broth, chicken in butter sauce and bistecca alla fiorentina will transport you directly to Nonna’s table.
Via del Porcellana, 25/r
La Sosta del Rossellino
A short cab ride from the city centre is the untouched hilltop neighbourhood of Settignano. Florentine classics meet Sicilian flavours at this cosy restaurant, which also has a killer wine list and a terrace with a view.


Le Volpi e L’Uva
This place is a wine-lover’s institution. It champions small producers, with a preference for native grape varieties and organic and biodynamic wines. Plus, there are warm crostini to go with them.
Pitti Gola e Cantina
Set in front of the imposing Palazzo Pitti, a stone’s throw from the eclectic Piazza Santo Spirito, this elegant wine bar is a versatile spot for a wine tasting, casual bite or late nightcap.                                                                                                                                                                       pittigolaecantina.com


Mercato Centrale
Upstairs is a modern food court with artisanal produce, from truffles and sourdough to pizza and pastries. Downstairs reside the traditional butchers, delis and fresh produce.                                                                                                                                                                                            mercatocentrale.it
Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio
This 19th-century market is the local’s choice, housing butchers, fishmongers, delis, bakeries… Even a cheap and cheerful trattoria. Outside you’ll find fresh produce, clothing, bric-a-brac and cafés for people watching.


Canto degli Scali
A friendly, stylish boutique B&B with light-drenched, spacious rooms, right in the heart of Florence. There are views over the terracotta rooftops and breakfast is served in a cute nearby café.

Find more travel tips in Jamie magazine every issue, or click here to save on a subscription. Words & photography: Emiko Davies. 

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