1: Rivoire, Piazza della Signoria
The Rivoire, bathed in Tuscan sun (Dreamstime)
Café culture doesn’t come much better than this. Rivoire is in the heart of the city, a stone’s throw from the Uffizi and the Duomo, and serves what many locals say is the best hot chocolate in town.
Its outside terrace is perfect for soaking up the rays in summer, and its cosy interior, complete with twinkling chandelier and an irresistible chocolate counter, is ideal for colder days.
The staff are friendly and won’t mind you stringing out a drink for a couple of hours while you read the paper.
2: Da Gherardo, Borgo San Frediano
Pizza overlooking Ponte Vecchio (Dreamstime)
If you love pizza, you have to add this gorgeously authentic gem to your list. Da Gherardo serves rustic, proper Neopolitan pizza with what I think is the best tomato sauce in the world.
Chalkboards disclose the simple yet sumptuous menu, and the pizzas are cooked in an open brick oven, making them extra crispy and bubbly round the edges.
The bruschetta here is also to die for.
3: Gelateria La Sorbettiera, Piazza Torquato Tasso
Gelateria La Sorbettiera’s mobile gelataria (lasorbettiera.com)
This is ice cream but not as you know it. From combinations like lemon and sage to dark chocolate and salted caramel, it’s the creamiest stuff you can put in a cone this side of Rome.
A ‘hole in the wall’ establishment, La Sorbettiera is humble and easy to miss, but well worth making a detour for. If you’re lucky, you may stumble upon their mobile gelataria, a specially kitted-out ape that pops up at hotspots around the city.
Wandering the streets of Firenze with a tub of tangy raspberry or a cornet of smooth vanilla is one of life’s pleasures. They also always do service with a smile. Is there any other way to sell gelato?
4: Caffè Giacosa, Via della Spada
Barman preparing Negroni cocktail (Dreamstime)
It helps that Negroni cocktails are hands-down my favourites, so where better to buy one than the place that invented them?
As well as conceiving this delicious (and quite lethal) concoction of gin, vermouth rosso and Campari, Giacosa also offers sweets, pastries and wines in a fantastic setting.
From the black and white prints on the walls to the gleaming counters and smartly dressed staff, you really feel you’ve stumbled across somewhere special. This is my ultimate spot for an aperitif.
5: Le Volpi e l’Uva, Piazza dei Rossi
Wine list at Le Volpi e l'Uva (levolpieluva.com)
If you like wine, Le Volpi e l'Uva is the finest spot in the city for sharing a bottle (or several) with friends, or even indulging in a bit of tasting. The list is extensive for experts but accessible and affordable for those looking for a refreshing tipple at the end of a hot day.
Wines come by the glass, too, meaning you can dash in before heading out to dinner, though I’d actually suggest you eat here. They serve snacky foods, mainly, but it's all delicious and typical of the region, such as crostone with classic toppings like anchovy and truffle, capers and lardo, and cheeses and salads, all perfect accompaniments to a crisp white or a mellow red.
Victoria Fox is the author of The Silent Fountain, published by HQ. You can order your copy on Amazon now.
Main image: Florence bathed in sunlight (Dreamstime)