I wouldn’t classify myself as a bonafide “foodie,” but I do have a soft spot for all things snacks and sweets. I’m talkin’ pistachio gelato and an authentic slice of Italian pizza! Fortunately, there’s no shortage of quick and tasty treats to eat in Florence, Italy.
Italian cuisine is world-renowned, and studying abroad in Florence last summer gave me the opportunity to explore Florentine gastronomy. While the food overall is par excellence, some challenges can surface as a visitor.
Especially when you just want to grab a quick bite to eat in Florence!
For example, a meal is roughly a 3 hour commitment, great for socializing with friends, not great when sightseeing. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to look for a quick and delicious bite. Well, after a month of tireless indulgence… I’m proud to present to you the 7 most heavenly and quick treats that you must eat in Florence, Italy!
Fancy a cozy environment where you feel like a local? One that is paneled with polished wood, accented with anecdotal Italian heirlooms, ornate décor and pops of fresh flowers? Perhaps it’s also a hybrid dessert counter and chic café? Not to mention a spot with some of the best snacks to eat in Florence? Then look no further than Cantinetta dei Verrazzano, conveniently situated nearby the bustling and central Piazza della Repubblica.
Stand at the pastry counter and sample all of the goodies behind the glass, or sit down and order from the menu. My choice? Iced coffee and a veggie cecina, a thin pastry made of chickpea flour and topped with veggies drizzled with oil. Perfetto! Seriously one of the best meals in Florence I ever ate.
If you’re craving an iced coffee and want one that is actually good — no, one that is legitimately amazing — go to Verrazzano.
Like many of the winding, narrow, cobblestone streets which form a maze of confusion for many lost tourists in Florence, Via de’ Ginori is no different. It just so happened that my apartment shared this street with an unassuming little treasure called Le Botteghe di Leonardo. So my daily ritual of getting lost usually ended with me inside this adorable and tasty ice cream spot. While there’s no shortage of gelato in Florence, finding Earth shatteringly good gelato requires great talent — or dumb luck.
In this circumstance, we’ll go with the ladder, (legitimately lived just a few doors down)! Regardless of how I found this gem that uses only natural, organic ingredients for authentic Italian ice cream recipes, the first bite blew my mind. The velvety texture melts on your tongue and the potent sweet flavors instantly turned me into an addict. My go-to flavor combo is nutty pistachio with tart mango, a delectable contrast but intoxicating none-the-less. I had no defense against this gelato, and found it necessary to get my fix as often as possible. I’m only human, people!
While we’re on the subject of being defenseless to delicious food, you must try…
If you want to try the best pizza in the world, ok, the best pizza in Florence that’s off the beaten path and across the River Arno, go to Gusta Pizza. Located in the Oltrarno quarter, adjacent to the historic piazza, Santo Spirito — a crowded local hangout — this cozy spot bakes wood-fired stone oven pizza packed with fresh flavors.
Potent leafy basil, parmesan shavings, flaky crust and light tomato sauce, the house special appropriately named, Gusta Pizza, is a simple yet scrumptious feast of flavor.
You know it’s good when there’s a line out of the door before the place even opens, which I had no problem waiting in… often. Seriously, there is a lot of good pizza in Florence, but I have to coin Gusta Pizza the best!
La Ménagère, yet another rockstar on my foodie trail through Florence, is an intimate and trendy restaurant perfect for escaping the summer heat. This is not your grandma’s Florentine cafe — it’s hip and gorgeous. There’s even a wall garden and free Wi-Fi, a blogger’s dream! Or… a florist’s dream? A floral blogger’s dream? Anyway, it’s also great for vegetarian food options in Florence.
Snack on the various delicious tapas on the bar menu. While all of this marries together to create a great dining experience, the real show stopper comes from behind the bar.
I present to you, The SPRITZ, the infamous Italian aperitif featuring Prosecco, Aperol and sparkling water. While most Italian spritz’ come garnished with a cute little orange slice, the Spritz La Ménagère doesn’t mess around, it’s packed to the brim with fresh fruits and veggies. I mean, one could really justify skipping dinner in favor of a few spritz’, right? Who’s with me?
One of my absolute favorite ways to eat in Firenze is to go to Mercato Centrale and hop around the stalls stuffing my face with everything in sight. I blame this heightened satisfaction on trips to Hometown Buffet as a kid. Fortunately, my palette is somewhat more refined than fried chicken and boxed mashed potatoes these days, and Mercato Centrale only serves to push me further into snobbery… but, I’m rambling now.
Botto line: Mercato Centrale is a must-see attraction in Florence.
I absolutely love this bursting-with-life market set inside the coolest industrial complex. It’s like stepping out of Renaissance Italy (which I love) and into the modern world, and offers a nice shift in scenery. Everything from pizza to veggie burgers can be found here, there’s even a €330,000 truffle! The pièce de résistance for me though is the tiny little unassuming cannoli cart, nameless to me and completely inconspicuous… I could probably eat about a dozen of these little babes because they’re just THAT good.
A flaky yet crispy outside filled with a cloud of cream in the center, doused in pistachio crumbs (cue the angelic music because these are my fave!) and a zesty orange peel. It is… AMAZING! I’m gonna go out on a limb and say you basically haven’t lived until you’ve experienced this cannoli.
If you’re a sugar junkie like me, pair it with a frozen iced coffee from the coffee bar, they drizzle it in chocolate. Basically, it’s a better combo than mango and sticky rice, pb & j, Bonnie and… you get the idea. I could easily scrap this entire post and just tell you to go to Mercato Centrale for a day full of food tasting in Florence! But I won’t, because there’s other yummy spots to try.
I am a serious sucker for a good smoothie. Combine it with a hummus wrap and I’m basically in heaven. Perhaps eclipsing my nagging sweet tooth is my love and appreciation for fresh food. Well, that’s exactly what I found at bar Itaco, the snack lover’s equivalent of Italian paradiso — sorry, I think Dante missed the mark on that one. j/k no one offends Dante. Ok, moving on…
I absolutely adored this cozy and colorful space. With a menu offering a variety of light lunches like wraps and salads, and fruity flavorful smoothies, there wasn’t much else I needed in life than to sit, sip and savor the fresh goodies that Itaco offers. It’s really the perfect spot for a quick meal outside of a panini, which, I love a panini… but one can only eat so many paninis, right?
If you’re craving fresh and healthy food in Florence… bar Itaco has ya covered. I also hear they have a pizzeria at Via dei Servi 116/118, where you can order a version that yummy chickpea flour concoction, cecina. Anyone tried it? Best believe I will be making a trip there when I return to Florence!
Now, how could I go and write a post about the best treats to eat in Florence without giving an honorable mention to the notorious aperitivo? Italy, thank you… you are a genius for your invention.
This Italian delight is a signature to Italy and no hum-drum happy hour. With the purchase of a beverage, you get access to a buffet of tantalizing finger foods and appetizers. For as little as 6 Euro you can fill up on a hardy meal while getting a soft buzz.
There are no shortage of spots to delight in an aperitivo in Florence. Keep your eyes peeled for little A-frame chalkboard signs perched outside of cafes listing the price and time they’re serving aperitivos. Recommending one spot is futile when every corner, street and neighborhood has its own hallmark place for an aperitivo. Do yourself a favor and eat at as many of them as you can! They’re quick, economic, and delicious. Win-win! Or dare I say… chin-chin?
There you have it, are you ready to eat your way through Florence? Go out and make momma proud; expand those waistlines! 😉
Christina Lyon is a coffee-sipping, word-obsessed business blogger, content writer, and blog consultant. She’s on fire for helping creative entrepreneurs and small biz owners build thriving blogs that enhance online visibility and convert to sales. When she’s not reading or writing, she loves to play music and explore the beaches and wild trails along the California coast with her husband Steve and rescue pup, Clio.
*This post may contain affiliate links, and I may receive a commission on purchases made through provided links (at no extra cost to you).