My Top 5 Florence Places to Eat Amazing Food, Feel Like A Local, & All for 5 Euros or Less!
I initially made this list of Florence Favorites for a friend not thinking about price, but only considering what were the best little bits of goodness I discovered in a city filled with tasty things. As it turned out, there's nothing on this list over 5 Euros. How's that for budget!
I'll tell you: almost unheard of in a European tourist-centric place like Florence. I did in fact try some other more expensive restaurants in the 10-20 Euro range, some of which came highly recommended, but none of those places wowed me enough to make the cut.
Here's my 5 Favorite places in Florence for cheap eats, all of which hit the sweet, delicious intersection of price, taste, and local ambience.
1. Gelateria Santa Trinita Gelateria. Perhaps the best gelato on the planet. And surprisingly not overpriced despite its prime location. Agonize over the best flavor combo (for this visit, you'll be back), then walk over and grab a seat on the bridge and watch the sun set over the river while the people go by and the street performers do their thing.
Gelateria Santa Trinita Piazza dè Frescobaldi, 11-12r, 50125 Firenze, Italy http://goo.gl/maps/qm7AR
2. Gusta Pizza. I ate this pizza five times in six days. It's quick, tasty, and cheap, (5 Euro for a whole pizza of mozzarella, tomato sauce, and fresh basil). Take it and go and sit on the church steps in Piazza Santo Spirito along with the other cool kids who make this place their hangout most every night when the air is warm. Don't miss it--the pizza or the chance to soak up one of Florence's quintessential public spaces.
Via Maggio, 46r, 50125 Firenze, Italy http://goo.gl/maps/OJ0po
3. Caffé Scudieri. Perhaps the best espresso drinks I found in Florence. The location too is unbeatable (facing the Duomo). Despite its elegant old-school vibe it's not expensive if you stand at the bar (instead of sitting). Also be sure to try some of their amazing little pastries and candies. The trick to ordering here is to first pay for your coffee at the litte corner register and then take your receipt to the barista.
Piazza di San Giovanni, 19, 50129 Firenze, Italy http://goo.gl/maps/PhUXR
4. All'Antico Vinaio. Their porchetta sandwhich was truly one of the best sandwiches of my life. Period. All sandwiches are on foccacia. It's also cheap (5 Euro!) and just one or two minutes from the Uffizi area! I beg you, don't come to Florence and miss this sandwhich.
Via dei Neri, 74, Firenze, Italy http://goo.gl/maps/BJaqk
5. Biblioteca delle Oblate. A bit of a hidden gem: go into the courtyard, through the library, and up to the roof where there's a decidedly student and non-touristy vibe with a rooftop view of the Duomo. Coffee and such is ok--nothing special--but worth it for the view and the feeling you just might be a local.
Via dell'Oriuolo, 26, 50122 Firenze, Italy http://goo.gl/maps/UFEvf
I loved Tasso, the hostel I stayed at while in town. Tasso feels like a boutique hotel who got lost and ended up settling down as a hostel. It has eveything you'd hope for in a place to stay: friendly, knowledgable staff, a nice kitchen, clean everything, well-designed spaces. It also has a few unusual bonuses like a nice outdoor courtyard, perfect for your complementary morning espresso drink. There's also the free welcome drink upon arrival and who doesn't like free beer? Tasso also has an old stage that still hosts concerts on the weekend. At other times the stage hosts a comfy couch, perfect for basking in the warm, atsy vibe.
While some reviews mention the location as a downside, for me the scenic 15-20 minute walk across the river and out of the touristy section of town was a no-brainer for the comfortable home-away-from-home atmosphere this place provided. In fact, it helped me feel a bit less like a tourist and a bit more like a local. And when in Florence who among us can resist imagining that other life you'd be living if only this were your native land?
Tasso Hostel Florence Via Villani, 15, 50124 Firenze, Italy http://goo.gl/maps/8cn12
*For those of you who've been to Florence, where should I go next time?