If you really want the best of the city, don’t skip Florence’s best bars and gelato shops!
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When you think of Italy, you probably think of good food. In Florence, you’re practically overwhelmed with food options! But the reality is that eating great meals is only half the fun. No trip is complete without exploring Florence’s best bars and gelato shops.
The Best Florence Gelato Shops
Great gelato is a MUST in Italy, but it can be hard to tell which places are legit and which are tourist traps. That is, until you buy it and it’s flavorless! There are two main signals that it’s the real deal.
First, the gelato is relatively flat in the display tin. If it’s built into a mountain, it typically has extra ingredients and unnecessary ingredients or chemicals. These look so inviting when you walk by! I know, it’s hard to resist. But the ones that sit easily in their containers – including the ones with the silver lids – are going to be creamier and more flavorful.
Second, skip the neon colors! A strawberry gelato should be pastel, not barbie pink. There are a few exceptions – mango is always bright yellow, and sorbets are always brighter – but if the gelateria window looks like a Crayola box, skip it.
With that in mind, here are a few of my favorite Florence gelato spots!
Gelateria Dei Neri
Gelateria Dei Neri gets listed first because it’s my favorite so far! Named after the street it sits on makes it simple to find. It sits a few blocks away from the Uffizi, not far from the river, so you can get a break from the crowds without having to walk too far out of the way.
They also have plenty of flavor choices, with a good mix of the classics and unusual flavors. My favorite so far has been blackberry (mora in Italian)!
Gelateria La Carraia
Any place with five different types of chocolate gelato is going to be a win, right? La Carraia has fantastic options and is worth walking a little out of your way to get there. Bonus: being just across the river means it’s less crowded, even in the warmer months when gelaterias get swarmed.
Gelateria dei Servi
We stumbled across Gelateria dei Servi because it was near our Airbnb! It sits around the corner from the Duomo, so it’s a great spot if you want to get gelato and walk around but don’t want to pay for overpriced options on the piazza. They had some of the best coffee gelato I’ve had, ever. I still think about it sometimes.
Grom isn’t unique to Florence – it can be found all over Italy. But the quality is always excellent and I’ve yet to try a bad flavor. Bonus: it’s also only a block from the Duomo. Get whipped cream on top (panna in Italian) for an added treat!
My Favorite Florence Bars
It’s hard to nail down Florence’s best bars, only because there are so many great ones! Whether you like speakeasies, rooftop bars, or old school Italian bars, there are a ton of options. Here are a few of my favorite to get you started.
Tosca & Nino
Tosca & Nino is one of those hidden in plain sight spots. It’s a restaurant and bar that sits on the top floor of a major department store, Rinascente, in the Piazza della Repubblica. The restaurant has some indoor tables as well, but if you’re lucky you can snag a seat in their rooftop seating for a snack and apertivo!
You may remember my obsession with speakeasies. This gem is classic speakeasy: hidden location, amazing ambiance, and top-shelf creative cocktails. After being welcomed with a tiny negroni, the menu is full of unusual flavor combinations, making you wonder who decided to add barbecue sauce to a whiskey drink.
Rasputin is a great speakeasy, with the one caveat that the cocktails are on the expensive end. It didn’t feel out of control – Florence is an expensive city, and speakeasies are never cheap – but now you can go with eyes open.
Vanilla Club is another speakeasy of sorts. It’s less hidden and needs no password, but has that quintessential speakeasy vibe. At places like this, it’s the attention to detail that always gets me. Drinks are served on old-style doilies, and the bar is lined with apothecary jars of all sorts of wild and wonderful ingredients.
If you can, get seats at the bar because the bartenders put on a show as they make drinks. Their cocktails are creative and tasty, and they like to mix it up here – some are served in teacups!
La Menagere feels a bit modern, a bit hipster, but mostly a great ambiance. It’s the kind of spot that if I lived nearby would see me visiting at least once a week. It’s a cafe by day and bar by night, so it’s a great option any time! We headed there late one evening when we weren’t quite ready to call it for the night, and had a great time sipping cocktails while watching the bartenders work their magic. Plan to order something a little unusual – their newspaper-style menu is fun and packed with twists on the classics.
Grand Hotel Cavour – Divina Terrazza
Another great rooftop spot is the bar of Grand Hotel Cavour. It’s slightly bigger than Tosca & Nino and has especially gorgeous views at night with the lights on the historic buildings, mostly because of how close it is!
Like many spots, the cocktails aren’t cheap, so we shared a bottle of wine as we soaked in the views. This also would be a fantastic spot to watch a sunset! If you’re a group, definitely call ahead – they fill up fast.
Have other suggestions of Florence’s best bars or gelaterie? Send them my way, I’m always looking for a new spot to try!