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Florence Food: 25 Traditional Foods You Must Try in Florence

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Florence, the cradle of the Renaissance, is famed for its art, architecture, and history. Landmarks like the Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, and Ponte Vecchio attract millions. Birthplace of luminaries like Dante and Michelangelo, its cultural legacy is unmatched. Amidst this, Florentine cuisine adds flavor to the city’s rich tapestry. If you’re curious about what to eat in Florence, read on to discover 25 must-eat Florence food favorites that you shouldn’t miss when visiting the Tuscan capital.

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What is Traditional Florentine Food?

Florentine cuisine, or rather Tuscan cuisine, rooted deeply in the region’s ancient past, has always been defined by its simplicity and use of high-quality, local ingredients. The geography and historical circumstances of the region largely shaped this food philosophy.

In the Etruscan era, dating back to around 800 BC, the Etruscans, who lived in the area now known as Tuscany, were already cultivating olives and grapes. They introduced the culinary traditions of making olive oil and wine, which remain central to Tuscan cuisine today.

The Middle Ages further refined Tuscan culinary traditions. The region’s location along important trading routes brought an influx of new ingredients and ideas. 

The Renaissance era, with Florence at its heart, saw a flourish in the culinary arts. Cookbooks became popular, documenting recipes and cooking techniques. While the wealthy indulged in lavish, multi-course meals, the basic principles of Tuscan cuisine remained intact – simple preparations highlighting the quality of ingredients.

In the 20th century, migration and globalization influenced Tuscan cuisine, bringing new ingredients and altering dietary habits. However, the core principles of the cuisine remained unchanged. Today, Florentine cuisine celebrates its historical roots while adapting to contemporary tastes. The cuisine is rustic and simple but always uses the finest ingredients.

Florence Food: Appetizers, Street Food & Snacks

1. Crostini Toscani

Tuscan Food: A plate of Crostini Toscani, a popular appetizer consisting of crostini topped with smooth paté made from finely chopped chicken livers. 

Crostini Toscani is a simple yet delightful appetizer from Tuscany that is a delightful ode to simplicity and flavor. You will always find it at family get-togethers or on the menu of a neighborhood trattoria.

At first glance, Crostini Toscani may seem unassuming –  small slices of toasted bread adorned with a rich topping. However, the magic lies in this topping: a savory, luxuriously smooth paté made from finely chopped chicken livers. 

These livers are gently sautéed with a mélange of ingredients including anchovies, capers, and a mix of aromatic herbs like sage and rosemary, often with a splash of local white wine. The mixture is cooked until the livers are tender and infused with the flavors of the added ingredients.

On the palate, Crostini Toscani delivers a symphony of tastes. The liver offers a deep, earthy richness, complemented by the anchovies’ salty intensity and the capers’ subtle tanginess. The herbs add an aromatic depth, enhancing the overall savoriness.

Even if you have a strong aversion to liver, Crostini Toscani might change your mind – I’m a testament to that.  It’s the kind of appetizer that makes you say, “Oh, I couldn’t possibly eat liver,” and then suddenly your plate is empty.

2. Panzanella

Tuscany food: A plate of Panzanella, a salad consisting of stale bread, ripe tomatoes, basil, crisp cucumbers, and red onions

Panzanella is a traditional Tuscan salad that brilliantly transforms simple ingredients into a burst of fresh flavors. At its core, panzanella is a clever use of stale bread, which Tuscans ingeniously revive by soaking it in water and vinegar, giving it new life. 

This bread is then mixed with the juiciest ripe tomatoes you can find, crisp cucumbers, and sharp red onions. Fresh basil leaves add a fragrant, herby dimension, and everything is generously dressed with high-quality extra-virgin olive oil and a splash of vinegar, usually red wine vinegar.

The taste of panzanella is a delightful symphony of textures and flavors. The softened bread absorbs the tangy dressing and the sweet, acidic juices of the tomatoes, creating a satisfying chewiness. The cucumbers and onions provide a crunchy contrast, while the olive oil brings everything together with its smooth, fruity richness. 

I love salads and panzanella is right at the top of my favorites list. This salad is a celebration of summer, offering a refreshing and light yet surprisingly filling dish, bursting with the quintessential flavors of the Tuscan countryside.

3. Lampredotto

Lampredotto - a typical street food of the city of Florence in Tuscany and is a sandwich with a cow's stomach in a tomato sauce and put to stew

Lampredotto is a distinctive and traditional Florence street food dish that is revered and cherished as a piece of culinary heritage in the city. Originating from the practice of ‘cucina povera’, or peasant cooking, lampredotto is made from the fourth and final stomach of a cow, known as the “abomasum.” 

The preparation of lampredotto involves slow-cooking the stomach in a flavorful broth with tomatoes, onion, parsley, celery, and sometimes a splash of wine until it becomes tender and infused with the aromatic flavors of the broth. The cooked meat is typically thinly sliced or chopped and usually slapped into a crusty sandwich, topped with salsa verde or a spicy sauce because, in Florence, they like their cow stomachs with a bit of zing.

Lampredotto has a unique taste, rich, meaty flavor, and surprisingly tender texture, given its origin. The slow cooking process allows the meat to absorb the flavors of the broth, resulting in a depth of flavor that is robust and satisfying.

Jacky was too squirmish to try lampredotto so I was game. I’m usually not a fan of organ meats but it is absolutely divine. 

I would say lampredotto is similar to pulled pork, yet even more delightful. There’s no gamey taste, and it strikes a perfect balance between being slightly chewy and wonderfully silky.

But it’s not just the delectable taste that makes lampredotto one of the must-eat Florence foods; the dish is a bite into Florentine culture and tradition. Try one, and you might find yourself irresistibly drawn to it.

4. Pecorino Toscano 

Tuscany cheese: A platter of various varieties of Pecorino Toscano cheese and jams

Pecorino Toscano, a cherished gem in the world of Italian cheeses, hails from Tuscany’s pastoral landscapes. This Tuscan treasure starts its life as sheep’s milk – mind you this is the VIP milk from the sheep frolicking in Tuscany’s cascading hills, probably humming Puccini arias as they graze.

This cheese comes in two varieties: ‘fresco’ (fresh) and ‘stagionato’ (aged). The fresh version is soft, creamy, and relatively mild, matured for just 20-40 days, offering a subtle, buttery flavor with a hint of tangy sweetness. 

The aged variety, matured for at least four months, develops a firmer texture and a more pronounced, nutty, and savory taste, with a slightly crumbly consistency.

What makes Pecorino Toscano particularly special is its protected designation of origin status (PDO), ensuring it’s produced using traditional methods and locally sourced milk. This guarantees a level of quality and authenticity in every bite. 

The cheese’s flavor profile is heavily influenced by the diet of the sheep, often grazing on the diverse flora of Tuscany’s hills, imparting a unique, terroir-driven taste that’s distinctively Tuscan.

Pecorino Toscano can be enjoyed on its own, as part of a cheeseboard, grated over pasta, or paired with honey, jams, and Tuscan wines. Its versatility and rich, authentic taste make it a favorite among cheese aficionados.

Jacky LOVES cheese and spent a considerable amount of time in Florence gobbling up morsels of yummy cheese. It is next-level amazing!

5. Antipasto Toscano 

A typical Tuscan antipasto platter of cured meats, cheese, vegetables, and bread

Antipasto Toscano is a must-eat Florence food and a quintessential start to any traditional Tuscan meal. This appetizer platter is a delightful assembly of various tastes and textures, showcasing the best of Tuscany’s local produce.

The ingredients typically include an array of cured meats like finocchiona (fennel-flavored salami), prosciutto Toscano, capocollo, and sometimes lardo di Colonnata, a delicately cured pork fat. Alongside these meats, you’ll often find slices of Pecorino Toscano, a regional sheep’s milk cheese, varying from soft and mild to aged and sharp. 

Adding to the mix are marinated vegetables like artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes, which provide a refreshing counterpoint to the rich meats and cheese. Tuscan bread, traditionally unsalted, is a staple accompaniment, perfect for savoring with meats and cheeses or dipping in high-quality extra virgin olive oil.

What makes Antipasto Toscano so special is its celebration of local, artisanal products, each ingredient telling a story of Tuscany’s culinary heritage. The taste experience is a harmonious balance of flavors: from the savory and slightly spicy meats, the creamy, nutty cheese, to the tangy, marinated vegetables. 

I’d imagine even the most steadfast health freak would have trouble saying no to this classic.

6. Schiacciata all’Olio 

Slices of Schiacciata all'Olio, a typical Tuscan flatbread sprinkled with extra-virgin olive oil and salt on top.

Schiacciata all’Olio is a classic Tuscan flatbread, celebrated for its simplicity and delightful flavor. It’s often enjoyed as a snack, an appetizer, or used to make sandwiches. 

The name ‘schiacciata’ translates to “flattened” or “squashed,” aptly describing its characteristic thinness. The ‘all’Olio’ part signifies the generous use of olive oil, both in the dough and brushed on top before baking.

This flatbread is made from a simple yeast dough, consisting of flour, water, yeast, salt, and a liberal amount of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. The dough is kneaded until smooth and elastic, then left to rise, creating a light, airy texture. 

After the first rise, it’s flattened onto a baking sheet, dimpled with fingertips, creating little wells that trap the olive oil and salt sprinkled over the top, and then baked until golden.

Schiacciata all’Olio is special because of its delicious simplicity and the way it embodies Tuscan culinary traditions. The olive oil in the dough and on top gives it a rich, fruity aroma and a luxurious, slightly crispy yet soft texture. 

The flavor of schiacciata is a harmonious blend of the fruity, peppery notes of olive oil, complemented by the perfect hint of saltiness. I would say it tastes a lot like focaccia but it’s not as fluffy or spongy as focaccia.

Florence Food: Soups

1. Pappa al Pomodoro

Florence Food: A bowl of Pappa al Pomodoro, a bread and tomato soup made with ripe tomatoes, stale bread, garlic, basil, and a generous drizzle of olive oil

Pappa al Pomodoro is a simple, rustic dish that is essentially a bread and tomato soup made with ripe tomatoes, stale bread, garlic, basil, and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Originating in the beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany, this soup has its roots in ‘cucina povera’, the art of creating rich, flavorful meals from the most basic ingredients. 

The preparation involves simmering tomatoes into a thick, aromatic sauce, infused with garlic and basil’s sweet, herbaceous notes. Stale bread is then torn into this bubbling mixture, absorbing the vibrant flavors and giving the soup its unique, porridge-like texture. A final swirl of olive oil before serving adds a touch of silky richness.

Tasting Pappa al Pomodoro is like a high-five to your taste buds. It’s a zesty, garlicky, tomatoey hug with a texture that’s like diving into a cloud made of bread. It’s comfort food with a capital ‘C’ – warm, soothing, and reassuring like a nana’s hug.

The great thing about Pappa al Pomodoro is its versatility – you can enjoy it slightly warm or at room temperature with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil during the summer, or serve it hot in the winter to provide warmth and comfort.

Pappa al Pomodoro is one of my all-time favorite Tuscan foods. A hallmark of Tuscan frugality, this hearty soup is both nourishing and immensely satisfying.

2. Ribollita

Tuscan Food: A bowl of Ribollita, a hearty Tuscan soup, brimming with cannellini beans, vegetables, and stale bread,

Perhaps the most famous Tuscan soup, ribollita embodies the region’s tradition of ‘cucina povera’ or peasant cooking. Its name, meaning “reboiled,” hints at its origins as a thrifty, hearty soup made from leftovers.

This hearty, vegetarian dish is made by simmering cannellini beans, kale or cavolo nero, carrots, celery, and potatoes, often with other available vegetables. Its base is a flavorful mélange of garlic, onions, and herbs like rosemary and thyme. 

Unique to ribollita is the addition of day-old, unsalted Tuscan bread, which thickens the soup into a rich, stew-like consistency. With a final drizzle of olive oil, ribollita offers a robust, earthy flavor, marrying the bitterness of greens with creamy beans and sweet vegetables, all harmonized in a bread-enriched broth. 

The taste of Ribollita is robust and earthy, with the kale or cavolo nero providing a slight bitterness balanced by the creamy beans and sweet vegetables. The bread, absorbing all the flavors, transforms the soup into a rich, stew-like consistency. 

With diverse variations of ribollita popping up across Florence based on local and family traditions, I strongly recommend trying it several times to find your favorite.

Florence Food: Main Dishes

1. Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Florence Food: Bistecca alla Fiorentina is a large, T-bone steak, traditionally from Chianina cattle, grilled over charcoal, and served rare

Bistecca alla Fiorentina is arguably the most emblematic Florence food dish on our list. Bistecca alla Fiorentina, or as I like to call it, the “Tuscan T-Bone Tango,” is less of a dish and more of a carnivorous rite of passage. 

Bistecca alla Fiorentina stands apart from common steak preparations in several key aspects, from its origin and cut to its preparation and presentation. This steak specifically comes from the Chianina cattle, an ancient Tuscan breed known for its tender and flavorful meat. 

This isn’t just beef; it’s the ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger’ of steaks, flexing its muscles on the grill. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is cut as a thick T-bone or Porterhouse, including both the tenderloin and strip steak. 

This cut is significantly larger and thicker than typical steaks, often weighing between 0.7-1.8 kg (1.5-4 lbs) and measuring about 5-7.5 cm (2-3 inches) in thickness.

Seasoned with just a whisper of salt, maybe a coquettish flutter of black pepper, it’s slapped onto a grill and cooked over a roaring fire. This simplicity highlights the natural flavor of the meat, rather than masking it with marinades or heavy seasonings.

It is traditionally cooked over a wood or charcoal fire, giving it a unique, smoky flavor. The high heat and thick cut allow the outside to char beautifully while keeping the inside tender and rare – a characteristic feature of this dish.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina is typically served rare to medium-rare and it’s often presented whole or sliced off the bone. Once you try it, you will never forget its taste, smell, and juiciness. Don’t wait until you’ve got dentures to sample this beauty!

2. Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale

Florence Food: Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale features wide, flat pasta with a rich, slow-cooked wild boar sauce, bursting with flavor.

Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale is a classic Tuscan dish that marries the broad, flat ribbons of pappardelle pasta with a rich, hearty ragù made from wild boar meat. 

The ragù is a slow-cooked marvel, starting with finely chopped onions, carrots, and celery (the classic soffritto), to which the boar meat, often marinated in red wine and herbs, is added.

This mixture is gently simmered for several hours, allowing the flavors to meld and intensify. Tomatoes and more wine are added to create a robust, deeply savory sauce.

The taste of Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale is a heavenly blend of textures and tastes. The gamey, earthy richness of the boar ragù, laced with the subtle sweetness of the wine and the robustness of the herbs, clings to the pappardelle like a well-tailored suit. 

If all this talk about Pappardelle al Ragù di Cinghiale is making your mouth water, you’re not alone. I’m drooling all over my keyboard as I write this 😉

3. Tagliatelle al Tartufo

Tuscan Food: A plate of Tagliatelle al Tartufo consisting of thin pasta ribbons tossed with butter, topped with shaved truffles

With its fertile lands, Tuscany is renowned for its truffle production, particularly the prized white truffles from San Miniato and the black truffles found in the Crete Senesi area. Thus, one of the best foods to eat in Florence is Tagliatelle al Tartufo – an exquisite pasta dish consisting of thin, ribbon-like noodles topped with shaved truffles.

The magic of Tagliatelle al Tartufo lies in its simplicity and the high quality of its ingredients. The dish features tagliatelle, the pasta equivalent of a luxury sedan – sleek, smooth, and just the right vehicle for a high-class sauce.

Tagliatelle’s broad, flat shape is perfect for holding onto sauces and capturing the truffle’s exquisite aroma and flavor. The pasta is usually tossed in a high-quality extra virgin olive oil or a light butter sauce, both of which serve as a subtle base that allows the truffle to shine.

The star of the show is the white truffle, the culinary world’s equivalent of a secret agent – elusive, expensive, and incredibly seductive. These fancy fungi are shaved over the pasta like confetti at a gourmet parade.

Each bite of Tagliatelle al Tartufo is a flirtation with luxury. I’m gaga for white truffles and absolutely love their complex, intense aroma which has garlicky, earthy, and slightly peppery notes.

4. Trippa alla Fiorentina

A bowl of  Trippa alla Fiorentina - a traditional Tuscan dish featuring tender, slow-cooked tripe in a savory tomato and vegetable sauce

Next up we have one of the most unique highlights of the Florence food scene – Trippa alla Fiorentina – a traditional Tuscan dish featuring tender, slow-cooked tripe in a savory tomato and vegetable sauce, often enriched with herbs and Parmesan cheese. 

Trippa alla Fiorentina is like the Renaissance of offal, turning the humble tripe into a masterpiece worthy of a spot in the Uffizi. This Florentine delicacy starts its journey as the stomach lining of a cow – yes, you heard that right, the stomach! 

The tripe is given a spa treatment, thoroughly cleaned, and then bathed gently in a simmering pool of water until it’s tender. Once tenderized, the tripe is cut into strips and simmered in a savory sauce made from tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, and sometimes a splash of white wine, infusing it with a medley of flavors. 

Garlic and herbs like parsley or basil are added to enhance its aroma and taste. A key ingredient is Parmesan cheese, which is often mixed into the dish towards the end of cooking, lending a subtle nutty richness.

The result? A dish that’s as hearty as a hug from a jovial Italian nonna. The taste of Trippa alla Fiorentina is complex and deeply satisfying. The tripe is surprisingly delicate, soaking up the herby, wine-infused sauce like a gastronomic sponge. It’s got a texture that’s a little bit chewy, a little bit silky – a carnival for your mouth. 

I always say that Trippa alla Fiorentina is one of the underdogs of the culinary world, turning the often-overlooked into a flavor fiesta that’ll have your taste buds doing the tarantella.

5. Pappardelle Al Ragù Di Lepre

Florence Food: Pappardelle al Ragù di Lepre which combines broad, flat pasta with a rich, gamey hare sauce,

Pappardelle al Ragù di Lepre is a classic Tuscan pasta dish that combines pappardelle, wide and flat pasta ribbons, with a rich and hearty ragù made from hare (lepre in Italian). It’s the kind of meal that makes you question whether you’ve been eating pasta or just practicing for the real deal all your life.

The hare is often marinated in red wine because, in Tuscany, even the game gets a good drink. This is slow-cooked with the ‘Holy Trinity’ of Italian cooking: onions, carrots, and celery, creating a flavor base that could make even a shoe taste good.

But the real magic? It’s in the slow simmer. This sauce cooks longer than it takes to plan a holiday, transforming the hare into a tender, fall-apart wonder that’s both earthy and sophisticated. 

The gamey richness of the hare, married with the robust, herby tomato sauce, creates a symphony of flavors that’s like a Pavarotti performance for your palate.

6. Panini 

Woman holding a traditional panini sandwich from All' Antico Vinaio in Florence

Ah, Florentine panini, the unsung hero of quick Italian cuisine! In the city known for Michelangelo and Da Vinci, the humble panino holds its own as a masterpiece of edible art. In Florence, panini sandwiches are essential to the culinary landscape, offering a delicious and convenient eating experience.

The quality of locally sourced, fresh ingredients is what makes the panini in Florence a must-eat. The fillings, from classic combinations like mozzarella, tomato, and basil, to more gourmet options featuring truffle cream, artichoke spread, and specialty meats, are a testament to the region’s rich culinary heritage. 

Moreover, the simplicity of these sandwiches belies their depth of flavor. Each bite offers a harmonious blend of savory meats, creamy cheeses, and fresh vegetables, often accentuated with a drizzle of local olive oil or a dash of balsamic vinegar.

In Florence, the crown for the best panini often goes to the legendary “All’Antico Vinaio”. Nestled in the heart of the city, near the Uffizi Gallery, this iconic eatery has gained international fame for its generous, mouth-watering sandwiches.

Florence food: Woman biting into a sandwich of the legendary All'Antico Vinaio sandwich shop

Oh, where to even begin with the sandwiches at All’Antico Vinaio! The sheer size of these sandwiches is a marvel – you hold it with both hands, and it’s like embracing a long-lost friend. And with each bite, the flavors burst into a parade on your palate, a carnival of savory delight that makes you want to sing out loud.

Many who eat at All’Antico Vinaio claim it’s the best sandwich they ever had. Jacky and I sure do!

Florence Food: Confections, Desserts & Sweets

1. Gelato

Man eating a cup of traditional gelato outside Gelateria della Passera in Florence

Why is eating gelato in Florence a must? Because skipping it would be like visiting the Uffizi Gallery and only looking at the gift shop. You see, in Florence, gelato isn’t just dessert, it’s a way of life.

Florence holds a sweet spot in gelato’s history, with its roots tracing back to the Renaissance. The legend goes that Bernardo Buontalenti, a Florentine architect and stage designer, delighted the court of the Medici with his creation of modern gelato. 

Combining ice from the Apennines with fruit and other flavors, he crafted a creamy, frozen delicacy that evolved into the gelato we adore today, cementing Florence as the cradle of this beloved dessert.

Moreover, this isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill ice cream. Each scoop is a masterpiece, crafted from the freshest ingredients. But the real secret is in the churning. 

Gelato is churned at a snail’s pace compared to regular ice cream, making it denser, silkier, and smoother. And when you taste it? Each scoop is velvety smooth, melting into a burst of pure, indulgent bliss with every delectable bite.

Jacky and I have sampled gelato in several places throughout Italy but the gelato in Florence is probably the best we ever had.

The flavors here are as vibrant and diverse as the characters in a Boccaccio tale. From the classics like stracciatella, nocciola, and pistachio to daringly innovative flavors like squid ink, green tea, and pumpkin, there’s a gelato for every palate.

If you’re wondering where to find the best gelato in Florence be sure to check out our article on the 13 best gelato shops in Florence.

2. Ricciarelli

Tuscan food: Closeup of Ricciarelli -  soft, chewy almond cookies sweetly dusted with sugar

Ricciarelli is a traditional Tuscan cookie that sounds like a fancy Italian sports car but tastes like a sweet little cloud of almond joy. Originating from Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, Ricciarelli is a bit like Macarons’ older, wiser, and less pretentious cousin.

These delightful morsels are made from a simple yet elegant mix of almond flour, sugar, and egg whites, often with a hint of vanilla or citrus zest to add that “Mamma Mia!” factor. The dough is shaped into plump, little oval pillows and then given a dusting of powdered sugar.

The outside of Ricciarelli is crisp and sugary, but the inside, oh the inside, is what makes it so special. I adore the inside for its soft, chewy texture, and marzipan-like rich almond flavor. 

These cookies are a testament to the Italian knack for turning simple ingredients into something you can’t help but say “Delizioso!” to.

3. Zuccotto

Florence Food: Zuccotto, a traditional Florentine dome shaped, liqueur-soaked sponge cake

Zuccotto is a traditional Florentine dessert featuring a dome-shaped, liqueur-soaked sponge cake filled with a rich blend of whipped cream, chocolate, and nuts, often resembling the shape of a small pumpkin or helmet. 

The origins of this dome-shaped, show-stopping delight are steeped in Italian culinary lore, with some tales suggesting it was inspired by the dome of Florence’s renowned Duomo, reflected in its distinctive hemispherical shape.

The base of Zuccotto is typically made of sponge cake or ladyfingers, often soaked in liqueur or sweet syrup, which forms a dome when lined in a bowl. The filling is a luxurious blend of whipped cream, chocolate, and nuts – traditionally hazelnuts or almonds.

Once assembled, Zuccotto takes a chill pill in the fridge, emerging as a cold, firm dome of bliss. The first slice reveals a colorful cross-section of indulgence, a kaleidoscope of textures and flavors. 

The sponge cake offers a soft, moist foundation, the chocolate provides a decadent depth and the nuts add a crunchy contrast.  It’s like a festive, Italian carnival of sweetness and texture in every blissful bite.

4. Schiacciata alla Fiorentina

Tuscany Food: A slice of Schiacciata alla Fiorentina - a traditional Tuscan sponge cake, typically flavored with orange and vanilla, and dusted with powdered sugar

Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a delightful traditional Tuscan sponge cake, typically flavored with orange and vanilla, and dusted with powdered sugar. This isn’t your typical, over-the-top, ‘rush-to-the-dentist’ sweet cake, mind you, it’s like the Audrey Hepburn of cakes – elegant, and absolutely charming. 

Interestingly a smidgen of olive oil, which imparts a unique, slightly fruity note, is used in its preparation. The true character of Schiacciata alla Fiorentina, however, comes from the addition of orange zest and a splash of vanilla, which together create a delightfully fragrant and citrusy aroma.

Its flavor is understated, with the sweetness balanced beautifully by the fresh, zesty notes of orange. Traditionally, it’s finished with a dusting of powdered sugar, often stenciled in patterns that celebrate its Florentine roots, such as the iconic fleur-de-lis.

Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is typically enjoyed during Carnival season but is a welcome treat year-round. 

5. Cantuccini

Closeup of Cantucci - crunchy Tuscan almond biscuits.

Cantuccini or Cantucci, also known as Biscotti di Prato, are traditional Italian almond cookies from Tuscany. Twice-baked, they boast a crunchy texture and are typically studded with almonds.

Originating from the charming city of Prato, these almond-studded delights have been mingling with coffee and wine since the Renaissance.

The traditional recipe for cantuccini involves a simple blend of ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, and whole almonds. Some variations include a hint of citrus zest or a splash of Amaretto or Vin Santo for added depth. 

The dough is formed into log shapes, baked until golden, then sliced into individual cookies and baked again. This double-baking process results in their signature crunchy texture, making them perfect for dunking into coffee, tea, and wine.

I absolutely LOVE cantuccini! Their delightful crunch and rich, nutty almond bursts are a dance of joy for the taste buds, especially when paired with a dreamy dip into sweet, velvety Vin Santo. Pure bliss! 

6. Schiacciata all’Uva

Tuscany food: A slice of Schiacciata all'Uva - a Tuscan grape bread, sweet, soft, with burst of juicy grapes.

Schiacciata all’Uva, which literally means ‘squashed with grapes,’ is a traditional Tuscan flatbread that can be described as the delicious lovechild of a vineyard and a bakery. It is made with sweet, ripe grapes pressed into soft, olive oil-rich dough, often sprinkled with sugar and sometimes rosemary.

What sets it apart is the inclusion of grapes, specifically the sweet, juicy varieties like Sangiovese or Canaiolo, nestled generously into the dough. The grapes are often layered between two thin sheets of dough, ensuring each bite is permeated with their flavor.

Before baking, the dough is typically sprinkled with more sugar and sometimes rosemary, adding a subtle herby note. The baking process caramelizes the grapes’ sugars, creating pockets of jammy sweetness amidst the soft, pillowy bread.

The taste of Schiacciata all’Uva is a delightful balance of sweet and savory. Each bite is a delightful mosaic of flavors – the dough’s mild, olive oil-infused softness meets the caramelized, jam-like richness of the grapes, creating a dance of sweet and savory symphony on the palate.

7. Torta della Nonna

Tuscany Food: Torta della Nonna is a  custard tart, topped with pine nuts and powdered sugar

Torta della Nonna is a classic Tuscan tart featuring a crisp, buttery pastry filled with rich, lemon-scented custard, topped with pine nuts and a dusting of powdered sugar.

This pastry is crisp, with a delicate crumble, providing a perfect textural contrast to the filling. The heart of the tart is a thick, luscious custard, typically flavored with lemon zest and vanilla, offering a bright and aromatic infusion. 

The pastry of Torta della Nonna is rich and flaky, complementing the velvety custard that melts in the mouth. The creamy, lemon-infused custard sings with bright, zesty notes, while the crunchy pine nuts add whispers of earthy magic.

8. Bomboloni

A plate of Bomboloni, a donut often filled with melted chocolate, custard or jam

Bombolini are soft, yeasty balls of dough, deep-fried to a golden hue and often filled with sweet treats like custard, jam, or chocolate, then dusted with sugar. They’re the delightful Italian cousin of the donut and are a testament to Italy’s love affair with sweet treats. 

These little rounds of joy start their journey as soft, yeasty dough, lovingly kneaded and left to rise. Once they’ve puffed up, they take a quick swim in a hot oil bath, emerging golden and crispy. 

These golden orbs are then generously filled with various sweet surprises – from classic pastry cream and rich chocolate to tangy jams and marmalades. The fillings ooze out with each bite, ensuring a burst of flavor that perfectly complements the dough’s subtle sweetness.

Bombolini are an absolute must-try for their irresistible blend of a crispy, golden exterior and a fluffy, airy interior, bursting with sumptuous fillings.

Florence Food: Drinks

1. Wine

In Florence, wine is more than a drink; it’s a cultural cornerstone, deeply entwined with the city’s history and lifestyle. The surrounding Tuscan region, famed for its exquisite vineyards and rich wine heritage, produces some of the most acclaimed and revered wines in the world. 

Ah, Tuscan wine, where do I even start? It’s like diving into a deliciously deep pool of history, culture, and, of course, grapes. Let’s uncork the basics: Tuscany is home to some of the most acclaimed wines in the world, each with its personality, like characters in a Florentine opera. Some of the best Tuscan wines to taste in Florence are – 

Tuscany wine: Man sniffing a glass of Chianti Classico in a winery in Tuscany

a. Chianti Classico: The jewel in Tuscany’s vinous crown, Chianti Classico is a red wine that sings with the heart of Italy. Grown in the sun-drenched hills between Florence and Siena, this Sangiovese-dominant blend is a symphony of rustic charm. 

It swirls in your glass with a ruby-red vibrance, releasing aromas of ripe cherries and Tuscan herbs. On the palate, it unfolds layers of red fruit, subtle earthiness, and a hint of oak, all harmoniously balanced with a tannic embrace. Even I had fun sipping it and I’m not big on wine 

Best Tuscan wines: A bottle of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. PC: Luigi Bertello Photo -

b. Vino Nobile di Montepulciano: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a Tuscan treasure, is like a poetic whisper from the rolling vineyards of Montepulciano. This noble red, primarily Sangiovese, radiates a ruby-red elegance in the glass, hinting at its aristocratic roots. 

Aromatically, it’s a romantic sonnet of ripe red berries, floral notes, and an earthy undertone, subtly laced with oak.  On the palate, it offers a harmonious blend of fruitiness and refined tannins, weaving a rich tapestry of flavors that culminate in a beautifully balanced and lingering finish.

Best Tuscan Wines: Various bottle of the famous Brunello di Montalcino wine. PC: Paolo Trovo/

c. Brunello di Montalcino: This legendary wine is like a regal, wise sage in the world of Italian wines, commanding respect and admiration. Born in the sun-kissed vineyards surrounding the picturesque hill town of Montalcino in Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino is pure Sangiovese elegance.

In the glass, it pours a deep, mesmerizing garnet, whispering tales of the ancient Tuscan soil it sprang from. On the nose, it’s a tapestry of dark, brooding fruits intertwined with hints of leather, tobacco, and a touch of spicy oak.

Brunello di Montalcino is the kind of wine that demands a grand dinner table and perhaps a small orchestra in the background.

Closeup of a glass of Italian Vin Santo wine on a wooden table

d. Vin Santo: Vin Santo, Tuscany’s “holy wine,” is a divine nectar steeped in Italian tradition. This cherished dessert wine starts its heavenly journey with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes, left to bask in the Tuscan sun on straw mats, concentrating their sweetness.

These sun-kissed grapes are then fermented ever so slowly, in small oak or chestnut barrels, tucked away in serene, shadowy attics, transforming over years into a golden elixir.

Vin Santo glows with amber radiance in the glass, whispering stories of time and patience. Each sip unveils layers of luscious flavors: honeyed apricot, caramelized figs, and a hint of almond, all harmonizing in a velvety, viscous symphony. 

Vin Santo is my all-time favorite wine and I cherish it for its heavenly sweetness and complex depth. Its sweet, profound richness is elegantly balanced with a subtle, nutty finish, making Vin Santo a perfect match for Cantuccini, creating a Tuscan ritual of ‘dunk and delight.’  Encore, please!

2. Craft Beer

In Florence, a city renowned for its Renaissance art and sumptuous wines, an unexpected player is making a splash in the beverage scene: craft beer. Florence has seen a surge in microbreweries and craft beer pubs, each offering a unique selection of local and international artisanal beers. 

As a beer aficionado, I was pleasantly gobsmacked by the many craft beer pubs in Florence. These establishments often experiment with different brewing techniques and ingredients, resulting in a wide array of flavors and styles.

Tuscan craft brewers are known for their artisanal approach, often incorporating local Tuscan ingredients and traditional brewing methods. This results in beers that are not unique but also reflective of the region’s flavors.

Some of the best Tuscan breweries to check out in Florence are Brasseria Della Fonte, Cantina Errante, Archea Brewery, Birrificio Birrificio Brùton,  and Birrificio del Forte.

3. Negroni

Closeup of a glass of the Classic Negroni cocktail with ice and orange peel

A Negroni is a classic Italian cocktail, an elegant and bittersweet blend of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth, usually garnished with an orange peel.

Sipping a Negroni in Florence is like taking a swig of history mixed with a dash of art. After all, this iconic cocktail was born here, in the heart of the Renaissance city. To drink a Negroni in Florence is to toast to Count Camillo Negroni, who, legend has it, asked a bartender to strengthen his Americano with gin instead of soda.

The crisp, juniper-infused sharpness of gin, the deep, herbal bitterness of Campari, and the sweet, complex notes of vermouth. Together, they create a symphony of bittersweet harmony, rounded out by a citrusy hint from the orange garnish, making it a sophisticated and refreshing aperitif.

Florence Food: Vegetarians & Vegans

Florence, while steeped in a culinary tradition that heavily features meat and dairy, is increasingly embracing vegetarian and vegan lifestyles. Florence boasts several dedicated vegetarian restaurants that creatively use local Tuscan ingredients. 

Dishes like ribollita and pappa al pomodoro are naturally veg-friendly and are often featured. These establishments often offer vegan options as well, ensuring a wide variety of choices.

You’ll widely come across meat-free and cheese-free pizza, and gelaterie which offer milk-free sorbetto (sorbet) and gelato with latte di soia (soy milk). 

Obviously, self-catering is always an option for vegans and others with restricted diets.

Florence Food Tours/Workshops

If you really want to dine like a local in Florence, you can sign up for an insightful food tour or cooking class. Some ones I would recommend are – 

Beyond tasting, you’ll gain insights from local experts, uncover hidden gems, and understand the nuances of regional specialties.

Where To Eat in Florence?

Here are just a few restaurant, café, and marketplace suggestions in Florence for sampling/buying the food we have mentioned above:

1. Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco

2. All’Antico Vinaio

3. Il Trippaio del Porcellino

4. Il Cantuccio di San Lorenzo

5. Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino

6. Pasticceria Marisa

7. Bar Pasticceria Cucciolo

8. Trattoria Sergio Gozzi

9. Trattoria La Casalinga

10. Trattoria Mario

11. Osteria dell’Enoteca

12. Archea Brewery

13. Birreria Fiorentina

14. Fermento Food & Beer

15. Manifattura


Further Reading For Your Florence Visit

That summarizes our definitive guide to Florence Food. We reckon you’ll also find the following resources useful for planning your trip to Florence!

Now, what do you think? What are some of your favorite traditional foods in Florence? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

About Mihir

Hello there, fellow globetrotters! I’m Mihir, a passionate travel blogger with an insatiable wanderlust. My journey across the world is fueled by curiosity and a hunger for unique experiences. As a travel writer, photographer, and adventurer, I’ve explored more than 35 countries, aiming to provide readers with a distinctive glimpse of our diverse world. Join me as I blend captivating storytelling with stunning visuals, guiding you through hidden gems and cultural treasures. Besides traveling, my other loves are my beloved cats, architecture, art, craft beer, classic movies, history, and Australian Rules Football (Go Dons!).

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