Top 5 Food and Wine Experiences in Florence, Italy

Pizza Margherita, Pizzeria Caffé Italiano, Florence, Italy 2013© Credit: Krystal M. Hauserman @MsTravelicious

Pizza Margherita, Pizzeria Caffé Italiano, Florence, Italy 2013© Credit: Krystal M. Hauserman @MsTravelicious

A fashion capital, UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Florence offers an abundance of history, culture, art and architecture. But for the hungry traveler, discovering the family-run trattorias and wine shops that dot the city’s twisting sidestreets is an equally alluring draw.

One of the first things that springs to the food-obsessed explorer’s mind when visiting Italy is where to find the best pizza. Purists on the hunt for the perfect pizza Marghertia will be in paradise at Pizzeria del Caffé Italiano. There you will find the quintessential bubbly, fire-tinged crust topped with melted mozzarella, tangy tomato sauce, fresh basil, a swirl of extra virgin olive oil and crunchy sea salt. Mangia bene!

Tuscany

Conti gourmet shop, Florence Central Market

After your obligatory pizza fix, one of the most entertaining ways to delve into the Florentine food scene (particularly for solo travelers), is to book a tour with Florence for Foodies. Nat and Sam — two uproarious guides with a passion for food and wine — lead small groups on whirlwind tours of the city’s most delicious attractions. You will start the morning with a lively discussion of Italian coffee culture while sipping macchiatos and devouring Italian pastries. The sinful feast continues at Florence’s Central Market, with a tasting of cheeses, glazes, balsamic vinegars and more at the historic Conti gourmet shop. After a bit of wine and local gossip, be sure to pick up a bag, or three, of the Sicilian “Pachino” sun-dried cherry tomatoes (fantastic gifts), and a jar of the Crema di Pistacchio. A riotous visit to a local wine shop, followed by a generous sampling of gelato, sorbetto and semi-freddi at one of the best gelaterias in town rounds out the afternoon.

Porcini and Arugula Salad, L'Antico Noè, Florence, Italy 2013© Credit: Krystal M. Hauserman @MsTravelicious

Porcini and Arugula Salad, L’Antico Noè

For dinner, seekers of local dining experiences will fall madly in love with l’Antico Noè, a traditional Tuscan trattoria housed in a former butcher’s shop and nestled underneath the Arco di San Pierino. Stacks of wooden crates overflowing with the freshest produce greet you as you enter the restaurant. When in season, try the shaved porcini mushroom salad with wild arugula, salty pecorino cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. Indulge in the Florentine steak (bistecca alla Fiorentina) or homemade pasta, capped off with Authentic Tuscan Biscotti (cantuccini) dipped in vin santo.

Take a reprieve from your Florentine food fest and drop by Antica Cuoieria to admire the handcrafted leather and suede shoes in a myriad of brightly-colored hues. Florence is renowned for its leather goods, and the offerings here are of the finest quality. Spend an hour or two exploring the nearby boutiques on Via del Corso, which are exceptional.

All'Antico Vinaio, Florence, Italy

All’Antico Vinaio

With your appetite restored, head over to All’antico Vinaio, for what will possibly be one of the best sandwiches you will consume in your lifetime. Take the edge off the long line with a glass of Brunello from the self-serve wine bar. Once inside, select your preferred oven-fresh bread, and for 5 euros, a spirited young man will pile it high with your choice of Italian meats, cheeses and accoutrement like truffles, artichoke spread and roasted eggplant. Your mouthwatering creation is expertly wrapped in butcher paper for easy eating. Grab a seat and another glass of wine and watch the world go by.

Zeno and Edoardo Fioravanti, and Manuele Giovanelli, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, Florence, Italy

Zeno and Edoardo Fioravanti, and Manuele Giovanelli, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina

Top off a day of sightseeing with a glass of Prosecco at one of Florence’s most lively wine bars, Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina. Owners Edoardo, Zeno and Manuele will regale you with their extensive knowledge of Italian varietals, and pour you curated selections of Chianti Classico, Brunello, and Barolo from local producers. An accompanying plate of farm fresh cheese and antipasti is the flawless finish to your Florentine food adventure.

Taste of Adventure

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