Florence is filled with more beauty and history than you could ever imagine, but most important is the food. It goes without saying that while studying abroad, you have to eat as much pizza, pasta, and gelato as you can. There’re much more to Florence’s food scene than meets the eye, so make sure to try out these 25 places on your next trip to the city of the Renaissance.
1. Margherita Pesto Pizza from Gusta Pizza
Casual and inexpensive (about 6 euro a pie), Gusta Pizza is the go-to spot for study abroad students in Florence. Grab a Margherita pizza with pesto and eat it on the steps of the Santo Spirito Basilica. Don’t forget to ask them for your pizza in a heart shape!
Undoubtedly the best gelato in all of Florence. Located right next to the Duomo, Edoardo serves organic gelato in a constantly rotating list of flavors. Try their signature gianduja (chocolate hazelnut) and canella (cinnamon) in a freshly-made cone
3. Pear & Pecorino Pasta from La Giostra
I visited this restaurant four times throughout my four months in Florence. To say it’s one of my favorites would be an understatement. La Giostra is the perfect place to bring parents, as it’s a bit pricier. They’re most famous for their pear and pecorino pasta, but don’t miss the burrata, jam, and pine nut appetizer.
This sandwich shop is the #1 most frequently rated restaurant on Trip Advisor ever. Their famous 5 euro focaccia sandwiches are bigger than the size of your face. Pile one high with prosciutto, eggplant, zucchini, and mozzarella. Be sure to try the truffle spread.
Right down the block from Gusta Pizza in Piazza Santo Spirito, this restaurant is home to the most mouthwatering truffle gnocchi. This decadent dish is essentially a fancier version of mac-n-cheese. Go with friends or family, and make sure to try their apple balsamic vinegar.
This company ships its ricotta straight from Sicily, where cannoli originated. They have a stand-alone shop near the Duomo (which also serves gelato), but you can also stop by their cart in Mercato Centrale and pick out whichever toppings you’d like.
Come here for the most Insta-worthy cappuccino you’ll ever have. Their baristas take their latte art seriously—you can ask for your name, the Duomo, or the Arno River to be drawn on top of your drink.
Located next to the leather market, Mercato Centrale is a food lover’s heaven. The first level of this indoor market sells fresh produce, meats, and spices, while the second level has dozens of food vendors for a quick meal. Be sure to try their bruschetta— toasted bread topped with olive oil, arugula, burrata, and tomatoes.
Want some chicken with that butter? Trattoria Sostanza‘s famed butter chicken features a steaming pot of frothy butter and spices with gigantic pieces of perfectly cooked poultry. This is a great place to go with friends—you can’t eat it on your own!
Prepare yourself for the largest pieces of ravioli you’ll ever see. Take advantage of the outdoor seating at this quaint restaurant. The servers are friendly and the food is even more fabulous.
A cheese lover’s paradise, this is exactly what it sounds like: a restaurant centered around mozzarella. If you order their tasting platter, you’ll get to try multiple flavors of their house-made mozz.
This place is so proud of their rigatoni that it’s highlighted in red on their menu. For a fair price of about 13 euro, you’ll be served a giant plate of steaming pasta with cheese literally mixed into the sauce. I still have dreams about this rigatoni.
13. Almond Milk Gelato from La Carraia
The original location La Carraia can be found right across Ponte Alla Carraia, two bridges west of the Ponte Vecchio. They’re famous for their “cookies biscotti” flavor, but the almond milk is extremely unique. It’s arguably the cheapest gelato in Florence, as you can get a cone for 1 euro and a cup for 1.5 euro.
You haven’t lived until you’ve tried margherita pizza with a ricotta-filled crust. This sit down restaurant serves unparalleled pizza for about 8 euros each. Take your parents here when you’re in the mood for pizza but still want to be wined and dined.
This little hole-in-the wall restaurant is famous for their pappardelle and tagliatelle (flat pasta noodles). Be adventurous and try our their cinghiale (boar) sauce, or play it safe with their classic truffle pasta.
Personally, this was the only spot that rivaled Edoardo gelato. Their espresso flavor infused with coffee flavor but without the coloring, leaving it a bright white. Try it with their dark chocolate. Don’t leave without chatting to Cinzia and Marco, the owners, who are the sweetest people.
John Travolta is rumored to have ordered this off-the-menu dish so many times that they named it after him. Split it with a friend to get a taste without breaking the bank. You’ll want to lick the plate after you’re finished, as the dish only comes with 6 giant rigatoni
18. Pumpkin Spice Gelato from Vivoli
If you study abroad in the fall, you’ll notice that no one else has bought into the pumpkin spice craze. Vivoli, a well known gelateria with notable flavors like Ricotta and Fig, comes in clutch when you’re suffering from PSL withdrawal.
You’ll probably pick up on the fact that nearly everything in Florence is doused in truffle oil. Make sure to try the truffle risotto or tagliatelle from Osteria delle Tre Panche before you get sick of this favorite flavor.
Everyone tells you to follow your nose when trying to find the famed “secret bakeries” of Florence. After 2am, a number of bakeries will sell croissants for a euro each (but I won’t tell where!). These make the perfect late-night eats, especially after a long evening out on the Florentine cobblestones.
For 50 euros each, you and your friends can become Italian chefs in only a few hours. The Florence Food and Wine Academy will teach you how to make pizza from scratch starting with homemade dough and finishing them off in the oven. After devouring your pie, you’ll get to see how gelato is made (and eat a bowl, too!).
22. Chianti Wine from MyTour
The number one rule for study abroad students on a budget? Always order the house wine. At some point, though, you’ll want to check out the hype and go on a wine tour. Companies range in prices (starting at 50 euros with MyTour), but be sure to try the famed Chianti wine while you’re there.
This sandwich shop is owned by a charismatic, middle-aged Italian named Pino, who makes a mean turkey sandwich. Stop by this spot when you’re looking for some food on the go and definitely asked for it toasted.
24. Bistecca Fiorentina from Buca Mario
You can’t leave Florence without trying infamous the bistecca Fiorentina (Florentine steak). The meat will come to the table still bleeding—this one’s not for the faint of heart. Grab some hungry friends who are feeling adventurous when you set out to check this one off the list.
Everyone loves “mama” of Pandemonio—a lively, welcoming woman whose specialty pasta (housemade bolognese) is a hit with students. In a trip to Florence, you’ll receive so many free shots of limoncello out at dinner that you’ll be inclined to pass it up, but make sure to try this one. Their homemade limoncello was so well liked that a friend of mine brought a bottle home from Florence!
Hopefully you’re gearing up for a trip to the Renaissance City soon. Meanwhile, I’m sitting here nostalgically behind my computer screen. Take advantage of the sights and the smells that Florence has to offer. Enjoy it while it lasts because before you know it, you’ll be back home on a gelato detox.
Source: Spoon University