While Firenze may be the center of the Renaissance art and culture, according to our opinion Emilia-Romagna region still holds the prestigious first place when it comes to variety of food ingredients and dishes.

Let’s be clear, we did not have a bad meal in Firenze. That’s what we love about Italy, you can’t have a bad dish. Overpriced yes. Not the most representative yes. But bad no. It’s just never the case.

However, since the traditional and typical Florentine cuisine is based on just five food elements (bread, olive oil, meat (usually veal, but pork, rabbit meat and venison is often consumed as well), legumes (beans, chickpeas), Chianti wine), the performance may be exquisite but the creativity has no room to grow.

Regardless the shortcomings or differences we had plenty of food, loads of pasta, meat and wine.

To have a better local and traditional food experience we asked for some guidance our friends that have been visiting or living in Firenze for a while. I did a bunch on line research, reading Gamberorosso articles in search for the locations that fit our schedule and serve local food.

These are the results 😋

Bread is a big part of the Florentine cuisine and although the usual breakfast consist only of a cup of coffee and a sweet brioche, bread in some form is all around.

Our local bakery where we would buy our daily stash of focaccias and small pizzetas for the little one

Wether is focaccia acting as a sandwich, popularly known as schiacciata (pressed), crusty form of it called schiacciatina (little pressed) or plain bread with toppings served, bread is everywhere.

Using the Airbnb accommodations during our trips gives us a more relaxed and casual dive into local cuisine. Yes, we like to dine out but we also like to dine in, and we like to visit local groceries shops and markets. We would usually have an early morning breakfast around 8am, thanks to our little human alarm clock . Starting the day so early means, we get hungry very early. Over the course of our years together we have come to conclusion that we best function and argue less if we’re not hungry. That means, we need to snack.  A bit, but often. Second breakfast is therefore our go to solution when traveling and being under stress to manage everything. It’s not for the love of food, not at all. 🤣

Among delicious and tasty sandwiches there was one just for Debeli. Situated just next to the bronze statue of Porcellino, there is the best panino col lampredotto in Firenze.

The classic Florentin sandwich as it’s known by the locals is a traditional regional street food made with tripes. The cattle stomach is slow-cooked in a vegetable broth, seasoned with herbs, chopped and served in a bread roll. Debeli says it’s delicious. I say thank you but no thank you

Flour as a main bread ingredient is also found in the classic Tuscan biscuit called cantuccio.

The word cantuccio literally meaning little corner, back in the day was used to indicate a little piece of bread with a lot of crust (usually the first and last slices of the loaf, the “corners”)
Different flavors of cantucci
The twice-baked, oblong-shaped, dry, crunchy biscuits may be dipped in a drink, traditionally Vin Santo, sweet dessert wine

Found in every house hold, supermarket and restaurant the gold liquid or olive oil is a crucial ingredient of almost all Italian dishes, but especially pasta. The glorious pasta, gluten infused and fattening pasta. The love of our foodie life.

And thank God we had plenty of it during our trip in Italy!

Our first dinner stop in Fireneze was Trattoria Boboli that has been operating since 1978.

The small setting near Boboli garden was rather quite when we came around 6pm. But it’s usually like that when you have an early human alarm clock. I told you we eat early. 🤣

The reason for dining at the Trattoria was a selection of traditional food and all day working hours. Happy to confirm we were not disappointed. From the welcoming staff to tasty food and happy toddler, I can give a strong recommendation for the Boboli trattoria.

Another recommendation and our go to restaurant was the small Osteria on the corner of Piazza Santo Spirito; the Gusta Osteria.

I mean, what’s better than having the view over pasta and the Brunelleschi church, at the same time? That is if you like churches 🤣

Santo Spirito church

The menu in Osteria Gusta, just to compare the prices from last and his year

At Gusta osteria we have also tried one of the most typical florentinvegetarian dishes, the ribollita.

This poor dish of peasant origin, whose name comes from the fact that people would be cooking a large amount of the dish and than re-heat it in days following is made of the few basic ingredients; bread, beans and vegetables.

Simple, tasty but after a while you start craving some ”real” food like meat or more pasta! 🙂

And speaking of meat while on the same Piazza of Santo Spirito, I have to mention that we had some delicious meat in Gustapanino trattoria just next to the Osteria. If you ever visit Firenze, make sure to drop by the Piazza Santo Spirito because in the piazza is a place for the local market in the morning but in the afternoon its true colors come to life. It’s just like a big loud dining room 🙂

Waiting for the food at Gustapanino trattoria

Mercato Centrale (Central Marked) built in late nineteenth century and designed by Giuseppe Mengoni, an architect who also conceived the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milano, is a closed indoor food market that sells variety of fresh ingredients, snacks and food.

We had some more pasta, pasta pasta everywhere, fried seafood and fried zucchini flowers
Italians like their food fried; and often anything from fish to vegetables is found fried. Lucky for us as we like to deep dive into deep fried foods

The second best market, next to the hipster Mecato Centrale is the oldest market in the city, that’s dating back in 1873; Mercato Alimentare Sant’Ambrogio. 

Mercato St Ambrogio

The market offers variety of fresh food, household goods,  clothing, and restaurants are working from 7 am to 2 pm every day except Sunday

Of course we had to try something, have just a snack before lunch, and there it was, a pork meat stand! Oh how delightfully delicious!

Meat, weather that is pork, veal or wild animal meat makes a huge part of local Tuscan cuisine and one of the signature dishes of the area is famous bistecca alla fiorentina (beefsteak Florentine style).

A couple of friends that have visited and lived in Firenze for a while recommended the best bistecca place in the city; Ristorante Perseus so it was inevitable for us to go there.

Ristorante Perseus

Situated near Piazza della Liberta’, a good 40 minutes from our accommodation with classic Italian opening hours; 12-2:30pm and 7-11pm, the visit to the restaurant was not at all convenient when you have a kid that sleeps during lunch opening hours. So we had to make a smart plan; we booked the first opening slot and we were the spot on at noon. You think the staff mattered? No, they were still having lunch leaving us outside to stroll with the sleeping child. Ah, well…what can you do.

When the staff ended their lunch break before the storm, we were seated down and ordered our foods. The empty space soon started to fill, our food arrived and child woke up; only to enjoy a bit of bistecca and a dessert 🙂

One of the most famous Tuscan dishes, bistecca alla fiorentina is a steak dish made of young steer (vitellone) or heifer (scottona). The loin steak on the bone is cooked on a grill until rare (50 °C) and served cut to pieces

Now finally mentioning the the wine, let’s not forget the small wine windows called buchette del vino, found all around the city.

Small window opening built into old majestic aristocratic families homes date back to the Renaissance period during the rule of not so popular Grand Duke Cosimo de Medici. To appease them the people that didn’t like him, he passed a law allowing the families to sell wine from their vineyards tax-free. What an offer!
There’s dozens of buchettas around the city and they all got a great comeback during Covid no contact period. All things eventually come back, right?

During the week we spent in Firence, we had tons of bread, average two portions of pasta a day, some meat and liters and liters of wine, beer and aperol. Italians are so much in this orange beverage that they have ready to sell inn bottles in a supermarket. Oh, how convenient. And on the days when we couldn’t dine out because of our schedule, Debeli would order some freshly cooked pasta from the next door and we would have our own feast in the cosines of our accommodation, listening to the usual happy crowd from the window and planing what’s next on the menu, the cultural and gastro one 🙂

Let me give you a hint; it’s loud, it’s dirty and it’s pizza! Yap, after a week in Firenze, we were off to Napoli!

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