Shopping and Eating in Florence, Italy


All sorts of souvenirs are usually brought from Florence with fragments of world-famous paintings from the Uffizi, wines and cheeses, leather goods and jewelry. By the way, about the latter: a fair amount of them can be found on Ponte Vecchio, where almost every store is a jewelry store. It is also worth going to Florence for fur coats (including the famous Rindi brand) and designer clothes and shoes, which are sold both in company stores and in outlets outside the city.

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In the center of Florence, there are both boutiques and small mono-brand outlets, for example, Max Mara, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, Robero Cavalli, Fendi. Most of the outlets located in the suburbs of Florence are multi-brand: Sotto Sotto, where there are a lot of evening dresses and classic suits; small The Mall with a large selection of luxury brands; Barberino Outlet (from &G and Roberto Cavalli to Levi’s, Motivi, Guess) and Valdichiana Outlet with sports brands like Adidas and Puma or Cerruti and Tosca Blu. The latter is worn by ordinary Italians who do not care about brands and fashion trends.

But a full-fledged shopping in Florence is unthinkable without visiting the markets. Tourists will be interested in two city bazaars. The first is San Lorenzo, located in the very center of the city, around the basilica of the same name. From Tuesday to Saturday, you can buy both leather goods and souvenirs here. The second market is Delle Pulci on Piazza dei Ciompi. It is open every day from 9:00 to 19:30, but only on Sundays antique dealers come to the ruins and exhibit their rare goods with history: coins, postcards, jewelry, paintings, etc.

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What to try

You can make legends about Florentine cuisine and never embellish it – it’s really damn delicious here. The crowning achievement of local culinary specialists is an incomparable one-kilogram Florentine steak (bistecca fiorentina). Steaks are served, as a rule, with blood, but you can also ask for “midium” roasting. Portions are enough for two or three, seriously.

All other local dishes are something “middle Italian”, but with Tuscan spices and delights. They prefer pasta for starters, artichokes or bruschettas for appetizers, and cheese for dessert. And, of course, excellent ice cream. Florence, by the way, seriously disputes the claims of the rest of the world to become the official homeland of this cold sweet. A weighty ball of homemade ice cream in a cone in proven gelateries (ice cream parlors, emphasis on “and”) starts from about 2 EUR.

But there is another dish on the Florentine menu that deserves special mention. This is forgotten and triumphantly returned to the streets of lampredotto – the fourth stomach of a cow, stewed with tomatoes. It is served both in gourmet restaurants and from stalls or small takeaway vans in the form of a sandwich.

Tuscan Chianti does not need to be introduced at all, it is drunk everywhere, drunk shamelessly, drunk with pleasure, and it remains only to follow the example of the inhabitants of Florence. Grappa or limoncella are also used as a digestif; before dinner, they can knock over a glass of Campari or Cinzano.

Despite the fact that pizza is a traditional Italian dish, it may not be available in some restaurants in Florence. It is best to take pizza in small shops near the Duomo Cathedral.

Cafes and restaurants in Florence

There are many decent restaurants and cafes in Florence where you can have a thorough lunch or just a bite to eat. The most ceremonial, in this case, will be ristorante and osteria. Of course, no one will ask you to follow the dress code, but it is better to book a table for dinner in advance and prepare to pay from 40 EURper person. In trattoria (trattoria) it is simpler and much cheaper, followed by pizzerias and rosticceria on the hierarchical ladder. The latter is something like a grill bar, in a word, not the best place for a hearty dinner, but for an evening tasting of local wine – why not? Finally, tavola calda completes the list of Florentine establishments – a real dining room that opens its doors only for dinner, feeds “with a bang”, tasty and inexpensive, but it’s better to take care of the list of proven places in advance.

The best restaurants in terms of price and quality, where the Florentines themselves dine, are located a little away from the historical center, so do not be lazy to take a walk further away – your efforts will be rewarded. If we talk about areas, then for tourist congestion places, for example, San Lorenzo or around the Duomo, where they almost always offer not the best cuisine at exorbitant prices, it is better to prefer others – like Santa Croce or Oltrarno.

Since Florence is located almost in the center of Tuscany (which, as we know, is famous for its wine), many excellent and inexpensive wines are sold here, in particular, amazing Chianti. Many establishments offer the so-called homemade Chianti in decanters worth up to 5–10 EUR.

Guides recommend

Alexandra Barkova, a licensed guide in Florence, recommends these restaurants to her guests:

A good place is Trattoria Zaza (address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 26r). It’s delicious, but from 20:00 there is already a queue, as the place is popular. A big plus is that the restaurant is open from 11 to 23:00 (that is, without a break! For example, you can have dinner there at 18:00, when most restaurants are still closed!) On the same square there is a Da Michele pizzeria (Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 22r), whose pizza is considered almost the best pizza in Florence – but there it is tall, with a fairly thick crust. If you prefer thin crust, go to the Yellow Bar in Via del Proconsolo, 39r.

To try a very tasty steak (bistecca alla fiorentina), I recommend walking a little further from the center and walking to the Perseus restaurant (Viale Don Giovanni Minzoni, 10/R). The Florentines themselves go there. From the cathedral about 20 minutes on foot, but very authentic and delicious! They don’t have reservations, so sometimes you have to wait in line. Come to the clock at 19:30, usually at this time there are no locals yet, and you can enter easily and quickly.

Eating in Florence, Italy