Experience Florence, Italy, Through These 12 Signature Foods

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What is the food of Florence, Italy? This historic city is home to some of the most amazing eats. This guide introduces the top 11 Florence foods every food lover should experience.

Florence holds a special place in my heart, and so does its food. Florentine cuisine offers a taste of Tuscany’s heart with each dish. You’ll discover how simple, high-quality ingredients reflect centuries-old traditions, like the famously saltless bread—a legend of economic battles with Pisa from its past.

Italian cuisine varies greatly across regions, with each area’s food reflecting its local products and historical influences. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or are a foodie, in Florence, you’ll enjoy a food experience that’s as full of history as it is of flavor.

featured blog image combining Florence's iconic Ponte Vecchio and Arno River views with a foreground of a hand holding a gelato cone. The image features a bold text overlay that reads "FOODS OF FLORENCE, ITALY."Pin

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1. Bistecca alla Fiorentina

a beautifully cooked Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a Tuscan steak, served on a white plate, perfectly charred on the outside and pink inside, sprinkled with coarse salt. A side of cooked greens is visible on another plate in the background.

Are you a meat lover? Then you can’t leave Florence without trying the Bistecca alla Fiorentina.

This iconic steak is deeply rooted in Tuscan tradition, particularly using Chianina cattle. These large, white cattle are native to Tuscany, and you might spot them if you venture into the countryside on day trips from Florence.

During one of our food tours in Florence, we discovered the traditional way to enjoy this dish. The experience starts with the server presenting the raw T-bone for your approval. If the cut of meat is to your satisfaction, they grill it over a wood fire, enhancing its natural flavors.

The steak is cooked to perfection: juicy inside, slightly charred and smoky outside, and always served rare—asking for well-done is a no-no here.

For a truly authentic experience, I recommend Ristorante del Fagioli, a favorite spot now recognized in the Michelin guide.

2. Ribollita

a traditional Tuscan dish, Ribollita, served in a ceramic bowl with a handle. The stew is thick and chunky, made with vegetables and bread, and is presented on a white tablecloth

This is a bowl of ribollita we enjoyed at Aquaquacotta in Florence. With each spoonful, you could taste the veggies.

Ribollita is a hearty Tuscan soup made from vegetables, beans, and bread, embodying the spirit of traditional peasant cooking. Originally devised in tough times, this dish used whatever ingredients were available, starting with stale bread. Its name, “Ribollita,” meaning “reboiled,” comes from reheating yesterday’s leftovers, often thickening with bread and vegetables. This method made the soup thick and filling.

While most restaurants today prepare it fresh, a few still embrace the traditional approach of reusing leftovers. Don’t let its humble appearance fool you; a spoonful of Ribollita offers comforting, rich flavors. It’s a simple dish and a must-try among Florence foods.

3. Gelato

Italy may be famous for gelato, but Florence holds a special place in its history. It’s believed that gelato was first created here by Bernardo Buontalenti for the Medici court.

Today, while gelato can be found throughout Italy, there’s something special about enjoying it in the city where it originated. Unlike regular ice cream, gelato in Florence boasts a higher proportion of milk to cream and eggs, resulting in a creamier and smoother texture.

The gelato here stands out because of its exceptional creaminess. It is crafted from high-quality milk and cream and flavored with fresh, local ingredients—you can really taste the difference!

One of our favorite ways to savor this creamy delight is by wandering the enchanting streets of Florence, gelato in hand, soaking up the city’s stunning scenery.

To sample some of the best gelato in Florence, visit spots like Perché no!, Vivoli, La Strega Nocciola, or Gelateria de Neri. Each offers a unique take on this creamy treat.

Gelato Tip: Avoid gelaterias with towering, brightly colored piles of gelato—these are often not artisanal. Look for shops that make their gelato in-house using local, high-quality ingredients, often kept covered (not always) or in modestly sized containers.

4. Trippa & Lampredotto

A close-up of a hand holding a trippa alla Fiorentina sandwich, served in a white paper wrapper. The sandwich is filled with tender pieces of tripe on Schiacciata Bread.
Trippa Fiorentina Panino

Feeling adventurous? Dive into some unique street food in Florence with a trippa alla fiorentina or lampredotto panino.

Trippa (cow’s stomach) and lampredotto (cow’s intestines from the fourth stomach) are traditional Tuscan dishes from Florence, slow-cooked in tomato broth until tender and typically served in a soft roll with salsa verde—a zesty sauce made of parsley, garlic, and olive oil. While these might sound challenging, they’re local favorites and a true taste of Florentine street food culture.

You’ll find these dishes at food trucks under awnings labeled “Panino al Lampredotto” or “Trippa alla Fiorentina.” Follow the locals to the longest lines for the best spots. Da Nerbone in Mercato Centrale is a legendary place to try these. If you prefer something not as adventurous, opt for a bollito panino, a similarly prepared boiled beef sandwich.

a sandwich cut in half, showing a generous filling of tender bollito meat from Da Nerbone tucked inside tuscan bread.Pin
Bollito sandwich at Da Nerbone.

5. Crostini Neri

An image of a plate of crostini, featuring slices of toasted bread topped with different spreads. Three of the slices are topped with a greenish-brown mushroom and liver pâté, while the other two are covered with a bright red tomato sauce. Pin
Variety of crostinis, including Crostini Neri.

Crostini Neri is a classic Tuscan appetizer you’ll often find on Florence restaurant menus. It features toasted Tuscan bread topped with a savory black liver pâté.

The pâté is crafted from chicken livers, butter, red onion, carrots, capers, and anchovy paste, each recipe varying slightly. It’s slow-cooked until creamy and then generously spread over crusty bread. While liver can be an acquired taste, we make it a point to order Crostini Neri at least once during our visits to Florence, often enjoying it as a starter or with an aperitivo.

6. Peposo alla Fiorentina

Peposo alla Fiorentina

Peposo alla Fiorentina is a robust Tuscan beef stew, slow-cooked with garlic, peppercorns, and red wine, typically served over thick crusty bread.

This dish has its roots in Florence’s history. It was invented by the workers during the construction of Brunelleschi’s Duomo. They would prepare the stew in pots near the fires used for making terracotta tiles, letting it simmer unattended all day while they worked, resulting in a tender and flavorful meal. Ideal for the fall and winter months, Peposo alla Fiorentina is a comfort food that is perfect any time of year.

7. Fagioli all’olio

a bowl of Fagioli all'olio, featuring creamy and tender white beans served in a white bowl with a spoon, suggesting a simple yet delicious Italian dish. In the background, there's a glimpse of another plate, possibly with meatPin

Fagioli all’olio, Tuscan beans cooked in olive oil, is a simple and delightful dish. These beans are slow-cooked with garlic, olive oil, and herbs until creamy and tender, making them one of our favorites.

Often served as a starter or a side, it’s common to receive a thick slice of crusty bread alongside to soak up the flavorful oil. You’ll find this dish on many menus across Florence. Despite its simplicity, Fagioli all’olio is a standout, showcasing the exceptional quality of beans from Florence and the broader Tuscan region.

8. Cinghiale (Wild Boar)

Tuscany is renowned for its game, especially wild boar. Cinghiale is featured prominently on Florence’s menus. Wild boar is versatile and often served over creamy polenta or intertwined with pappardelle pasta. It’s typically in season from October to January.

9. Schiacciata Bread

Panino made with Schiacciata breadPin

Panino from Salumeria Verdi in Florence, Italy made with Schiacciata bread.

Schiacciata bread, not to be confused with the sweet Schiacciata alla Fiorentina cake, is a savory Florentine specialty. It is flat and thin and features a soft interior with a toasty, salty crust, similar yet distinct from focaccia. Schiacciata is typically thinner than its cousin.

Often enjoyed simply with olive oil and salt, it also serves as an excellent base for bruschetta. We learned to appreciate its versatility during a cooking class in Florence. You’ll likely encounter Schiacciata bread in local markets and bakeries, and it’s commonly used for panini in salumerias across the city.

Fun Fact: Schiacciata is salted, but the crusty bread served with your meal throughout Tuscany for “fare la scarpetta” usually does not have salt.

10. Any Dish with Truffles

 a plate of pasta topped with shaved truffles, served on a white plate with a black rim. The pasta is elegantly twirled and garnished with generous slices of black truffles

Tuscany is renowned for its truffles, and dishes featuring this delicacy are found on menus throughout Florence and much of Italy. Truffles are usually incorporated to highlight distinct flavors, such as pasta drizzled with truffle oil or shaved truffles.

The black summer truffle is the most commonly found type in Florence. These underground fungi grow near tree roots and are prized for their unique aroma and flavor. They are a delicacy and typically quite pricey.

Truffle hunting is a traditional activity in Tuscany, and you can participate in hunts guided by trained dogs. While truffles have gained popularity and are now included in various products and cuisines, be cautious as not all truffle-infused products maintain high quality; some might even be counterfeit and lack real truffles.

Trying a truffle dish like Tagliatelle Funghi Porcini e Tartufo is a must eat when in Florence. Although not everyone loves truffles, you won’t know until you taste them.

Tour Ideas:
Full-Day Small-Group Truffle Hunting in Tuscany with Lunch [book tour]
Hunt for Truffles in the Tuscany Hills of Florence [book here]

11. Cantucci with Vin Santo

A glass of Vin Santo with a side of Cantucci biscuits served on a textured glass plate, set on a wooden table.Pin

Cantucci, also known as biscotti, may have its origins in Prato, Tuscany, but it has also become a beloved treat in Florence. Commonly served as a dessert, these crisp cookies are traditionally enjoyed with Vin Santo, a sweet Tuscan dessert wine. The customary way to savor Cantucci is by dipping them into the wine before each bite, creating a delightful combination. This pairing offers a sweet and satisfying conclusion to any Florentine meal.

If you do not drink alcohol, you can always order the cantucci on its own or with espresso.

12. Schiacciata alla Fiorentina

Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a traditional Florentine cake, typically enjoyed during the Carnival season. This soft, flat cake is subtly flavored with hints of orange and vanilla and is usually dusted with powdered sugar. While often served plain, it can also be filled with various creams or custards.

Originating in the 18th-19th century and initially known as “Schiacciata delle Murate,” it was first made by nuns in a convent and intriguingly became known as a last meal for prisoners facing execution. Today, Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a delightful dessert with espresso or a vin santo.

Book a Food Tour

Taking a food tour is an excellent way to explore local cuisine, learn about the history of the dishes, and immerse yourself in Florence’s food culture.

  • Small-Group Florence Food Walking Tour [book here]
  • Florence Best Street Food Spots [book here]
  • 10 Tastings of Florence with Locals [book here]

what type of food is Florence famous for?

The food served in Florence consists of Tuscan dishes from the region. Notably, Florence is famous for specialties such as Bistecca alla Fiorentina, the meat of Chianina cattle, a Tuscan breed. Also known for its gelato, which was supposedly invented there.

Kathy Ava

Meet Kathy Ava, a food, travel, and cruise writer based in Los Angeles/Pasadena, and the owner and main writer of Tasty Itinerary. With over 20 years of experience planning trips and logistics at her full-time job and for herself, she's become a pro at crafting unforgettable tasty itineraries. She's always on the hunt for delicious, fun travel destinations and cruise itineraries. She firmly believes that life is short and we must make the most of it, so always say yes to dessert.

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