Before moving to Paris, Florence was my second home. I lived there for four months while studying Criminology and Law in Prato, a lovely town just outside the city. Before I settled down in Paris last June, I returned to my (second) favourite city. One thing I noticed during my most recent visit was this: Florence has become cool.
The coffee culture in Florence has traditionally been fast: go into a caffè, stand at the bar, drink your espresso, leave the money on the counter and leave with a ciao, grazie! It was almost impossible to find a takeaway coffee and going to a caffè to study or work, and drink coffee, was often frowned upon.
Now however, Florence is being introduced to the culture of slow coffee. New trendy caffès are opening that encourage customers to sit, relax and enjoy their coffees, or provide takeaway cups so you can sip your coffee while you wander the city streets. Not only that, caffès are now offering the Australian flat white and alternative milks such as soy and almond milk.
Not only is coffee culture changing, but the food culture is too. I never thought I would see so many vegetarian, vegan, raw, and gluten free restaurants in a city which was always so traditional. If you have dietary requirements or simply want a break from traditional Italian fare, here are some trendy new places to try:
Credited with introducing slow coffee culture to Florence, Ditta Artigianale is a hip specialty coffee roaster with two locations, one in the historic centre behind the Galleria Uffizi and the other on the left bank of Florence, Oltrarno. Owner Francesco Sanapo is a three-time Italian coffee champion who took part in his last competition in Melbourne, Australia at the World Barista Championship, coming sixth.
Returning to Florence, he transformed his vision for quality coffee into Ditta Artigianale, bringing the flat white with him. Also available are chai and matcha lattes, cold brew, and soy, almond and coconut milk. One of the few places in Florence to serve all day brunch and cocktails, their menu offers croque monsieur/madame, French toast, scrambled eggs, pancakes, muesli and more.
Located down the road from the Palazzo Pitti is Carduccio, ‘the organic living room’. Using organic, biodynamic and seasonal produce that is locally sourced, their menu changes daily depending on the freshly harvested products available. They serve organic, Fairtrade coffee and offer a selection of natural wines. Carduccio also sells fruit and vegetables, rice, legumes, dried super foods, condiments and other kitchen products. When I visited I snagged the table out the front in the lovely little alcove and watched the world go by as I enjoyed a surprisingly tasty raw zucchini pasta (no carbs here!)
5 e Cinque
5 e Cinque is an organic vegetarian restaurant located off the lovely historic Piazza della Passera. Covered in old black and white photographs of Florence, the menu has a Middle Eastern influence. They’re famous for their hummus and cecina, a fried crepe made out of chickpea flour. I’ve dined here on multiple occasions, and particularly loved their delicious Cacio e Pepe pasta.
Konnubio is a restaurant and wine bar serving modern Tuscan cuisine. Located near Basilica di San Lorenzo, Konnubio is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails. Breakfast is 12 euro per person and includes a selection of Italian and French pastries, cheeses and cured meats, quiche, freshly baked bread, eggs and drinks. Lunch and dinner is sure to please everyone with meat or fish-based dishes as well as vegetarian and vegan options. When I visited I enjoyed a mouth-watering Tagliatelle Ragu for lunch.
Written by Ali Postma for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, London, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.