What is the food of Florence, Italy? This historic city is home to some of the most mouth-watering dishes. Here are 11 of the best Florence foods to add to your foodie bucket list.
Looking to tantalize your taste buds with some truly amazing Italian cuisine? Florence is one of the cities you should have on your foodie hearts list.
Italian cuisine is one of the most popular and loved in the world. When you visit Italy, you discover that Italian food varies from region to region and even city to city. It depends on the local ingredients, what’s grown, what the city is known for, and what’s available.
What food is Florence best known for? When you visit Florence, there are several Florence foods you should add to your foodie bucket list and Italy bucket list. Some of these foods also derive from the Tuscan region, possibly with their spin on it… “alla Fiorentina.”
Many of the Florence foods are made with simple yet high-quality ingredients. Keeping with some ancestor traditions when ingredients were harder to come by.
For example, when you first have the bread in Florence, you’ll realize there is no salt. It’s simply plain. This is because salt was a precious and expensive commodity back in the day.
It also has to do with a bit of history going back to the middle ages when the Pisa blocked the salt from being delivered to Tuscany from their port. So, the Tuscan bakers only used what they needed, which was none at all! It was better than giving in to Pisa’s demands at the time.
So, Florentines keep with tradition, and the bread is baked without salt. It does take some getting used to while you’re there.
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Now, there are plenty of things to do in Florence, but one thing you should not miss is eating your way through this beautiful city. Eating is one of the many reasons to visit Italy.
A food tour is one of the best ways to get introduced to some of these foods, their history, and the local culture.
Food Tour Ideas:
- Small-Group Florence Food Walking Tour [book here]
- Florence Best Street Food Spots [book here]
- 10 Tastings of Florence with Locals [book here]
Read: 5 Practical Tips to Book a Food Tour
You can also visit the Mercato Centrale, Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio and local supermarkets to see what locals eat and buy.
In this article, we cover the top 11 most popular foods of Florence so that you can plan a Tasty Itinerary. When we visit Florence, we spend a lot of our time eating and sipping Chianti wine. We are here to advise you to do the same!
Florence Foods To Eat During Your Visit
What food is Florence famous for?
Florence is famous for a number of dishes that we go over below, but the city is most famous for gelato. It is said that gelato was invented in Florence by Bernardo Buontalenti for Caterina de’ Medici, wife of Henry II of France.
Sip and savor your way through this Tuscan city with these Florence foods.
Ribollita is a traditional Tuscan soup made of vegetables, beans, and bread. There are many variations of this soup as it is a peasant soup. One was created during hard times when people had to make do with whatever they had.
The name Ribollita means “reboiled” because this soup was traditionally made by reheating the leftovers from the day before, which mostly included bread and vegetables. So sometimes, you can expect the soup to be thick. It can be pretty filling too.
Nowadays, you’ll find that most restaurants make it from scratch, but some still use the old method of reheating leftovers.
This is one of the simple yet delicious Florence foods you must try. When served, it may not look like much, but once you have your first comforting and delicious spoonful, you’ll appreciate it.
It’s also perfect for a chilly day in Florence.
2. Bistecca alla Fiorentina
Are you a meat-eater? So, then you can’t leave without having Florentine steak.
What makes the Bistecca alla Fiorentina authentic to Tuscany is where the meat comes from. Chianina is an Italian breed of white cattle raised in a few regions of Italy, mostly Tuscany. If you set out to explore and take day trips from Florence into other parts of Tuscany, you will probably come across herds of the Chianina cattle.
During a food tour in Florence, we learned there is a traditional way to experience Fiorentina steak. The server will present the raw piece of T-bone cut steak to you for approval. Once approved, they will go back and grill it over a wood-fire grill.
The result is a beautifully cooked piece of meat that is juicy on the inside and slightly charred on the outside with a smoky flavor. Always served on the rare side, don’t think of asking them to cook it well done.
Pair it with a glass of Chianti wine, and you’re in for one fantastic meal!
Many restaurants in Florence and Tuscany serve Bistecca alla Fiorentina. For the traditional experience, check out Ristorante del Fagioli (now a Michelin guide restaurant). It’s one of our favorite places to eat in Florence.
Italy is famous for gelato, and Florence is no exception. Gelato is said to have been created in Florence by Bernardo Buontalenti during the Medici court.
Now, you can find gelato all over Italy, but why not have gelato where it all began?
Gelato differs from regular ice cream as it has a higher proportion of milk and a lower ratio of cream and eggs.
What makes gelato unique is its creaminess. The gelato is extra creamy and smooth, thanks to the higher-quality milk and cream.
Gelato in Florence is some of the best we’ve had. The gelato here is made with fresh ingredients, and you can taste the difference.
One of our favorite ways to enjoy gelato is by taking a stroll through Florence with a cup or cone in hand while admiring the beauty of the city of Florence.
Foodie Tip: If you see a gelateria with piles of gelato that looks like beautiful chaos of ice cream, that's not a true artisan gelato spot. If the pistachio is neon green, that's a bad sign. You want to go to gelaterias that prepare their gelatos in-house with local, high-quality ingredients. The best gelato shops have their gelato covered or in smaller containers that are not piled high.
To try some of the best gelatos in Florence, check out Perché no!, Vivoli, La Strega Nocciola or Gelateria de Neri, to name a few.
Our Favorite Places to Eat in Florence, Italy
Where to eat in Florence? These are some of our favorite places to eat in Florence. We cover everything from pizza, sandwiches, Florentine steak, pasta, and yummy gelato.
4. Trippa & Lampredotto
If you are feeling adventurous and want to try something truly unique, then head to a street food truck and order trippa alla fiorentina and lampredotto panino
Trippa and lampredotto are both Florence foods from Italy’s Tuscan region. Trippa is made of a cow’s stomach, while lampredotto is made of a cow’s intestines. Lampredotto is made from the fourth stomach. Both types of meat are slow-cooked in a tomato broth until they are melt-in-your-mouth tender. They are both considered peasant dishes.
The meat is typically placed on a soft roll and topped with salsa verde (a green sauce made of parsley, garlic, and olive oil).
Not going to lie. We are not a fan of tripe or stomach. However, this is a local favorite that you’ll find many Florentines eating. If you are feeling adventurous, then give it a try!
You can find these food trucks in the streets of Florence. Look for the awnings with the words “Panino al Lampredotto” or “Trippa alla Fiorentina” and look for the lines that are filled with locals. It’s typical street food in Florence.
Da Nerbone, in the Mercato Centrale, is one of the most popular and oldest spots to get an authentic trippa alla Fiorentina or lampredotto. If you’re not up for either, you can try a bollito, boiled beef that is prepared similarly to a panino with salsa verde.
5. Crostini Neri
Crostini Neri is a typical Tuscan food that you will find on the menus of restaurants in Florence. Toasted Tuscan bread topped with black liver pâté.
The liver pate is made from chicken livers, butter, red onion, carrots, capers, and anchovy paste (recipes will vary a little). It is then slow-cooked until it is smooth and creamy. Then slathered over a crusty piece of bread.
We are not a fan of liver, it is an acquired taste. When we are in Florence, we will always order Crostini Neri at least once. It is usually served as an appetizer or with an aperitivo.
6. Peposo alla Fiorentina
Peposo alla Fiorentina is a hearty Tuscan beef stew that is slow-cooked with garlic, peppercorns, and red wine. It is then typically served over thick crusty bread.
The working men in Florence created this dish during the construction of Brunelleschi’s Duomo. They would cook the stew in pots near the fires producing terracotta tiles and left it unattended while they worked for most of the day. This created a flavorful and tender stew.
Peposo alla Fiorentina is a delicious and hearty fall or winter dish. Don’t get me wrong, we’d have this any day of the year.
7. Fagioli all’olio
Fagioli all’olio is Tuscan beans in olive oil. These beans are slow-cooked with garlic, olive oil, and herbs until they are creamy and tender. It’s one of our favorites.
This dish is often a starter or a side with your main course. Sometimes a thick slice of crusty bread will accompany it so you can mop up all that delicious olive oil. You will see this on menus throughout Florence.
While it seems simple, it’s amazing and not your regular side of beans. The beans from Florence and the surrounding Tuscan region are some of the best in Italy.
Tuscan beans are also used in various dishes, from soups and stews to salads and pasta dishes. So when you’re in Florence, try the local beans. You won’t be disappointed.
Day Trip From Florence to Lucca, Italy
Take the train or rent a car from Florence to Lucca. Explore the old Medieval city walls and underground tunnels. Eat the best focaccia. Enjoy the relaxing atmosphere Lucca offers away from all the tourists in Florence. If you love Florence, you will Love Lucca.
8. Cinghiale (Wild Boar)
The Tuscan region is known for its game, and you will find dishes made with wild boar on menus throughout Florence.
The wild boar can be prepared in many ways, but you’ll find it typically on the menu served over creamy polenta or pappardelle pasta. Restaurants typically serve dishes with wild boar from October to January.
It’s absolutely scrumptious!
Read more: 8 Convincing Reasons to Visit Italy in October
9. Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a soft and flat cake traditionally baked during the Carnival season. It tastes slightly of orange and vanilla. The cake is dusted with powdered sugar. Usually, it is served as is, but sometimes you’ll find it filled with creams or custards.
The cake’s history stretches back to the 18th-19th century when it was called “Schiacciata delle Murate” because it used to be made by nuns at their convent and then became famous as a final meal for prisoners about to be executed.
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina can be served with an espresso or vin santo, and can also be eaten as a dessert.
11. Schiacciata Bread
Not to be mistaken with the sweet flat cake above, Schiacciata bread is a Florentine-style bread that is flat, thin, soft, and toasty on the outside and has salt. The bread is reminiscent of focaccia bread and can be confused by someone not local, but there is a difference. You’ll find that Schiacciata bread is thinner.
The bread is typically eaten with olive oil and salt, but you’ll find it used as the base for bruschetta, which we did during a cooking class in Florence.
While you can find this bread at the markets and bakeries throughout Florence, the next panino you order at a salumeria will more than likely be on Schiacciata bread.
11. Any Dish with Truffles
Tuscany is known for its truffles; you will find dishes with truffles on menus throughout the city of Florence and, honestly, throughout most of Italy. Truffles are typically used in dishes that highlight their flavors, such as pasta with truffle oil or shaved truffles on top.
A variety of truffles can be found in Tuscany, each with its unique flavor. The black summer truffle is the most common type found in Florence.
Truffles are a type of fungus that grows underground near the roots of trees and have a distinct aroma and flavor. They are quite a delicacy and expensive.
Hunting for truffles is a tradition in Tuscany, and you can even go on a truffle hunt with a trained dog.
In recent years, truffles have become more popular, and you can find them in various products, dishes, and not just Italian cuisine. But you have to be careful because not all truffle products are of the same quality. Some products are even counterfeits and not made with real truffles.
When in Florence or Italy, order a dish with truffles and taste the difference. Like a plate Tagliatelle Funghi Porcini e Tartufo. And sure, not everyone loves the taste of truffles, but you won’t know until you try it.
Full-Day Small-Group Truffle Hunting in Tuscany with Lunch [book tour]
Hunt for Truffles in the Tuscany Hills of Florence [book here]
Food Travel Quotes To Inspire the Foodie In You
Here are 50 food and travel quotes that will make your heart and stomach flutter and speak to your foodie traveler’s soul. Use these travel and food quotes as inspiration as you plan your next foodie trip. | tastyitinerary.com
So there you have it, our top Florence foods to add to your foodie bucket list. We hope you enjoy trying out all these amazing dishes! We are hungry now. What about you?
Don’t forget to pair all your meals with a glass of local wine!
Need more inspiration to plan your trip to Florence? Check out these articles to help you with your Italy travel plans:
Things to Do in Florence, Italy
The Essential 2 Days in Florence
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