FLORENCE HAS BEEN my home for almost 20 years. I was originally drawn to the city’s art and history but quickly fell in love with the food. In my career as a food writer and cookbook author, I’ve found that Florence’s proud, headstrong people have preserved the city’s favorite dishes and food traditions just as they have their famous buildings and art. Recipes don’t change, and trattoria menus are the same as what families cook at home. History weaves itself through every aspect of Florentine life, especially the food, which is as unfussy, humble, and rustic as it has been for centuries.
You can tell what time of the year it is by simply looking at a menu, bakery window, or market stall. April means broad beans, served in their pods with pecorino cheese; May brings the first cherries and the last artichokes. Summer is for tomatoes, tumbled into panzanella salad; September means wine harvest, the time for grape-studded schiacciata (a thin Tuscan focaccia), and autumn brings newly pressed olive oil and roasted chestnuts, perhaps dipped with vino novello, “new” wine.
Florence has the good fortune of being in the middle of fertile Tuscany, where excellent olive oil, delicious wine, and abundant fresh produce are always available. These are the fixtures of the Florentine table, along with bread — an unsalted, large loaf is never missing from any meal. Consider this guide a gateway to the region’s abundance.
Coffee, Breakfast, and Lunch
Ditta ArtigianaleTraditional espresso drinks with a modern twist
S. FornoStoried Tuscan breads and pastries
Cantinetta dei VerrazzanoSeasonal schiacciata and baked goods
’InoPanini and wine with local pedigree
Aperitivo and Treats
SbrinoInventive natural gelato
La MénagèreAll-day bites and cocktails in a whimsical setting
Le Volpi e l’UvaNatural Italian wines by the glass and small plates
Dinner and Cocktails
Il NugoloGarden-fresh dishes in a lush environment
Regina BisteccaClassic Florentine steaks with all the trimmings
Atrium BarCocktails in a restored palazzo
Emiko Davies Writer
Emiko Davies has called Tuscany home for almost 20 years. Her first cookbook, “Florentine,” is a love letter to the city that taught her about Tuscan traditions and conviviality. She has written six cookbooks and runs a cooking school with her husband, Marco, in San Miniato, between Florence and Pisa.