Via Roma, 1r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Piazza della Repubblica in central Florence has three of the city’s most historic cafes. Gilli is one of them, and when you walk in, you feel like you are entering a piece of the city’s history. The cafe was founded in 1733 but moved to its current location in the early 1900s, when it became a favorite place for artists and intellectuals. It is beautiful and grand, but there are enough local people hanging out there to make you feel like you are still experiencing a piece of modern Florence. The cafe serves excellent cappuccinos, pastries, and sweets, as well as whiskey and wine. When the weather is nice, you can sit outside and watch the people in the square.
Piazza della Repubblica, 6, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Paszkowski’s historic interior was originally founded in 1848 in what is now Piazza della Repubblica in the center of Florence. A great place to stop for a hot chocolate, espresso, or one of the cafe’s beautiful sweet treats, Paszkowski not only reflects the city’s history but also is a place where fancy locals still gather.
Piazza della Repubblica, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The Piazza Della Repubblica was the place to be in Florence in the evenings. Tourists and locals alike dined at the restaurants lining the square, student groups gathered, families enjoyed the Carousel, and gypsies and other migrants tried to sell everything from silk scarves to toys..right up until the police arrived and they all magically disappeared.
10/r Via della Spada
The fashionista’s drinking place of choice, Roberto Cavalli’s chic café makes a perfect pit stop on the designer boutique trail. Perch on a leopard skin pouffe for an excellent cappuccino, decadent pastries and cakes, and savory dishes at lunchtime. Foodie gifts to-go include delicious handmade chocolates, panettone at Christmastime (wrapped in Cavalli’s trademark animal-print paper), and award-winning wines made by Cavalli’s son, Tommaso.
Piazza Santo Spirito, 8, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
This Santo Spirito classic has two main selling points: Daniele, the barrista, who makes one of the best cappuccinos this side of the river, and the comfortable back room, where you can sit down without having to pay extra. There’s also a wonderful terrace out front that looks onto the comings and goings in one of Florence’s most lively piazzas, but you have to pay to sit there. Ricchi is great for coffee and afternoon tea, but you can also eat lunch and dinner here, and their homemade ice cream isn’t bad either.
Piazza della Repubblica, 4, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The rooftop terrace bar of the smart Rinascente department store offers some of the most stunning views in the city and the in-your-face views of the Duomo from up here really help to put Brunelleschi’s monumental creation into perspective. It just about makes up for the not-very-exciting selection of drinks, snacks and light meals that make up the menu. Beware that you pay more to eat and drink on the terrace than inside the bar.
Via dello Sprone, 16r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Located on one of the prettiest little squares in the Oltrarno, this caffè has a few tables on the sidewalk, a tiny bar area, a room in the back for sit-down meals and snacks and a cosy, Bohemian atmosphere. It’s a great place for either breakfast, lunch or evening aperitivi and offers a laid-back, typically Santo Spirito vibe.
34-red Via della Chiesa
This is one for when you are feeling homesick: Mama’s is a welcoming, American-style bakery run by ex-banker Matt and his Italian wife Cristina who serve up (delicious) freshly-baked bagels, muffins, cheesecake and other specialties from across the pond. Birthday cakes, pumpkin pies and other special occasion cakes are made to order and savoury choices include club sandwiches, filled baguettes, salads and soups. Mama’s is a reference point for Florence’s Anglo-American community, so it’s a useful place to meet other travelers and source local information.