Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

Florence's Tasty Coffee Shop Guide

The caffe scene throughout Italy is an important factor of everyday life. People will pop in to their favorite bar on their way to work for a quick espresso breakfast with a pastry, they’ll grab a slice of pizza for lunch or drop by for an aperitivo before dining out and take a peaceful digestivo on the way home. For the tourist too, the caffe is central. Here you can find a refreshing drink, a snack or a well earned coffee break. Caffe/bars are where you will commonly find toilets, WiFi zones, public telephones and plenty of helpful locals with useful advice and information. Florentine caffe bars are no different from anywhere else around Italy.

You will discover gorgeous, historic houses that have been the resting place for talented artists and great thinkers, there is the homely, family run bars where everyone is a friend and the small, quick stop, caffeine refueling station used by people in a rush. Some of the most famous Florentine cafes have been around for centuries, the oldest being Caffe Donnini in Piazza Repubblica. This is also the place where you will find the greatest concentration of grande coffee houses, with Gilli, Paszkowski and Giubbe Rosse all based here.

For a more intimate drink try the side streets and alleyways away from the crowds or across the river to the Oltrarno district where you will find lots of delightful, little coffee shops. These are busy, affordable and cosy places, full of character that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Things to remember in Italian caffe society.
There are three ways of paying and each bar will be different.
• Pay first at the checkout and then take the receipt to the barista.
• Order, drink and pay.
• Or sit down and let the waiter take your order and pay afterwards. The third option will always be the most expensive and a caffe at the counter will always be cheaper and more entertaining choice. Never ask for a latte when you want a caffe latte, you’ll just get a glass of hot milk. The phrase “Dica” - “Tell me” is often used for “Next please”. Drinking cappuccino after midday is frowned upon. It’s bad for the digestion.
(To visit the venues mentioned in this article, check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Florence)
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1. Donnini’s Caffe Pasticceria

Donnini’s Caffe Pasticceria
Donnini’s was originally founded in 1894 to which the tiling on the floor atests. Its recent renovation has taken this historic coffee house back to the glory days of caffe society in Florence. The style and furnishings used give Donnini’s an elegance and grace that it possessed back in the 1920s, when it was the place to be seen in. This is where you can truly taste the traditional cakes and pastries for which Florence is famous. If the caffe is full then like many of the more popular destinations in Florence there are large glass conservatories on their doorsteps, and while affording the chance to drink at Donnini’s, it is not the same as going inside the gorgeous old building.
Where to find it:
Piazza della Repubblica 15r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 09:00am-02:00am

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2. Caffe Gilli

Caffe Gilli
Caffe Gilli is the oldest coffee shop in Florence dating back to 1733, started by the Swiss Gilli family, and was renowned for its cakes. It was originally based around the corner in Via degli Speziali and moved to its current location in the 1920s. Much of the cafe’s style of this period can still be seen in its beautiful decorations and furniture from this time. An era when the great salons were in vogue and filled with crystal chandeliers, contemporary paintings and sculptures and delicious dark wood paneling. Caffe Gilli reaches back to a time of such opulent elegance and taste. This is the cafe outside which the 1951 photograph of Ruth Orkin was taken, entitled “An American Woman in Italy” as she glides through the piazza, admired by the young men. Again there is additional protected seating in the piazza within the conservatory.
Where to find it:
Via Roma, 1/R - 50123 Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 07:30am-01:30am

Offline reading and travel directions:
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3. Caffetteria la Loggia

Caffetteria la Loggia
In the narrow streets away from Santa Croce, the recently refurbished premises of the Caffetteria la Loggia once again opens its doors to coffee lovers, with such delights as hazelnut or ginseng creamy coffees. La Loggia offering a wide range of choices and a great selection of cakes and pastries will fill the weary traveller on their tour of Florence’s alleyways and piazzas. The caffe takes its name from the nearby Loggia del Pesce, in the Piazza Ciompi, once situated near the Ponte Vecchio, this was where the fish market was held.
Where to find it:
Via Pietrapiana 12r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 07:00-20:00
Offline reading and travel directions:
With GPSmyCity App you can read this article offline on your mobile device, use the embedded offline city map and GPS navigation, as well as create a self-guided walk to visit the venues featured in the article.

4. Caffe Giacosa

Caffe Giacosa
Established in 1815 and today feted as serving the best cappuccinos in Florence and the place where the Italian, Negroni cocktail was invented. The splendid surroundings of the Giacosa were the meeting place of Florentine nobility and aristocracy and an exquisite place for the city’s elite to be seen. The building was restored by Roberto Cavelli, whose designs kept many of the building’s historical features and preserves the marvelous surroundings of this classical coffee house. The business started out as one of Florence’s leading chocolate makers supplying royal households throughout Europe and today you can still buy excellent selection boxes of their delicious sweets, many of which are on display in the bar’s window. Opening Hours 07.30 - 20.30, Mon - Sat, closes midnight in the summer.
Where to find it:
Via della Spada 10, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Fri: 07:30am-08:30pm
Sat: 08:00am-09:00pm
Sun: Closed


5. Caffe Amerini

Caffe Amerini
Just off the main fashion district around the streets of Via Tornabouni. The Amerini’s location makes it a popular snack destination for locals, fashionistas and tourists alike. The bar offers a great choice of pastries, pizza and sandwiches with nice strong coffee and a good wine list. This is a typical locals bar, on the backstreets and away from the general chaos. Here, its location attracts the Florentine workers, as well as the smart set and there is always guaranteed to be a cacophony of noise first thing around breakfast time.
Where to find it:
Via della Vigna Nuova 63r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 08:00-20:00

6. Caffe Megara

Caffe Megara
A small, cosy bar with a special atmosphere. At the center of the fashion district, Megara makes the perfect spot to take a break from all that retail therapy. Whether you are looking for a cappuccino and cornetto breakfast or a delicious aperitivo, this caffe is a truly magical little destination. The walls are full of interesting pieces, with the large Red Baron Triplane suspended from the ceiling. The proprietors also provide a diverse collection of newspapers from around the world to read.and free access to WiFi.
Where to find it:
Via della Spada 15 - 17r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 07:30-20:00

7. Caffetterie delle Oblate

Caffetterie delle Oblate
A trendy bar located on the second floor of a local library where they provide diners with the occasional live musical events, varied tidbits to eat during the evening aperitivi and scrumptious bites throughout the day. From its lofty position, those who chose to sit on the terrace are treated to fabulous views of the Duomo across the rooftops and the sounds of the busy streets below. This is a secret, well positioned caffe where its unannounced location tends to be known only by students and professors. However, if you seek it out you will be treated to a delicious menu, affordable cafe and wonderful setting.
Where to find it:
Via del Oriuolo 26, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon: 02:00pm-07:00pm
Tue: 09:00am-12:00am
Wed-Sat: 09:00am-12:00am
Sun: Closed

8. Caffe Paszkoswski

Caffe Paszkoswski
A famous bar that started out in 1907 and attracted the great thinkers, writers and artists of the day. One of Florence’s most expensive cappuccinos can be had here. Amongst the many treasures of the bar is the little Baroque waiting room where the Societa Anonima would meet. Sadly many of the Paszkoswski’s treasured, historical documents were lost in the 1966 flooding. In 1991 the cafe was declared a national monument, preserving its uniqueness and status for future generations. As for over a hundred years now, during the warm summer’s evenings you can regularly hear live piano music and singing drifting across the piazza. This was one of the first venues to feature an all female orchestra and became the stepping stone for many new artists. Although sumptuously decorated in its original antique Art Deco style the bar has WiFi connection and great facilities for meetings and functions, as well as additional seating space in the outdoor glass, conservatory.
Where to find it:
Piazza della Repubblica 35, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 07:00am-02:00am


9. Caffe Le Guibbe Rosse

Caffe Le Guibbe Rosse
The piazza was created with the demolition of the old ghetto and the creation of the large open space that became the Piazza della Repubblica. During the 1920s and 30s Le Guibbe Rosse, meaning the Red Coat, was a famous den of political intrigue and argument for Europe’s communists and the burgeoning Futurist movement. The large windows of the coffee house open onto the grandeur of the piazza and the colorfully decorated merry-go-round, while the walls are covered with pictures. A flower by Primo Conti and a picture by Depero. The tiny, dark meeting room at the back, saw the likes of Fillippo Tommaso Marinetti and Luigi Russolo thrash out their political manifesto and Noble winner Montale enjoy a drink. Along with their house speciality the Futurist Cocktail, you can also order a traditional, delicious Florentine steak. There is plenty of room here, even at the height of the season in the covered area in front of the caffe.
Where to find it:
Piazza della Repubblica, 13/14r Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Thu: 07:30am-12:15am
Fri,Sat: 07:30am-02:00am
Sun: 07:30am-12:15am


10. I Dolci di Patrizio Cosi

I Dolci di Patrizio Cosi
Billed as a temple to the art of pastry the bar has a vast array of sweets, cakes and dolci for visitors. Their glass fronted cabinets are dripping with fruit crostata, sticky Sabare and towering Bongo cakes doused in chocolate. Many of the locals flock here first thing in the morning for a caffeine hit and a dolce before making their way to work. Those in need of an afternoon “pick me up” should try a pastry here.
Where to find it:
Borgo degli Albizi, 15r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 07:00am-07:00pm
Sun: Closed

11. Hemingway

This off the beaten track coffee house acts as a shrine to the famous American author’s memory. In a side street of Oltrarno Florence, this comfortable, contemporarily decorated house featuring pale blue walls, festooned with photos and posters of Hemingway and his life. Books are liberally spread throughout the room, while an old fashioned typewriter sits in the window as if awaiting the writers return. The caffe is known for its excellent chocolate creations, especially the Hemingway cappuccino, a cream and chocolate explosion in a cup. This is not a cheap drink but most definitely a memorable one. A very popular and expensive bar, in an area dotted with local watering holes. It is advisable to make a reservation in order to avoid disappointment.
Where to find it:
Piazza Piattellina, 9 50124 Florence, Italy

Phone: 055 284781

Working Hours:
Mon: Closed
Tue-Thu: 05:00pm-01:00am
Fri-Sat: 05:00pm-02:00am
Sun: 04:00pm-01:00am

12. Caffe Pitti

Caffe Pitti
Situated in the busy, but large, pedestrianised Piazza Pitti and facing the imposing frontage of the famous Palazzo Pitti. The cafe restaurant can seat up to 70 people indoors and has room for a further 45 outside in the square. At Caffe Pitti you will find a classical tuscan menu laden with truffle recipes and the ubiquitous Florentine steak. Great for a quick coffee but also ideal for a substantial evening meal. Only five minutes walk from the Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi it makes a nice stopping point in the Oltrarno district, south of the Arno.
Where to find it:
Piazza Pitti 9r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 12:00am-11:00pm


13. Cibreo Caffe

Cibreo Caffe
The cafe is located behind the Mercato Sant’Ambrogio, this quaint, cosy caffe offers a traditional creamy cappuccino but also has the same excellent Tuscan menu as its sister venue, the Trattoria Cibreo next door. Some what away from the crowds around the Duomo, this bar makes for a more peaceful place to sit and relax. The interior features decoratively carved stone ceilings and plush red velvet theatre seats that give the bar a certain style. There is always a great atmosphere at Cibreo and it is a popular evening venue, so best to visit early on before all the tables are taken.
Where to find it:
Via Andrea del Verrocchio 5r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Tue-Sat: 08:00am-01:00am


14. Caruso Jazz Cafe

Caruso Jazz Cafe
Those looking for something a little different will find that this is the place where you can soak up the relaxing ambience. New talented painters feature on the walls each month and vibrant live jazz music is showcased on Thursday and Friday evenings. The bar is a small, intimate underground venue but ideal for the perfect musical evening out. Just five minutes from the Ponte Vecchio and the Piazza della Signoria its nicely located in the heart of town.
Where to find it:
Via Lambertesca 15-16r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 09:30-15:30; 18:00-23:00

15. Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita
The Dolce Vita is a uniquely trendy, Bohemian bar, decorated in a brightly colored, urban chic fashion. Its staff have a warm, friendly approach to customers and are a great source of local knowledge and advice. This enigmatic bar features an open air beer garden that overlooks the piazza and the front facade of the church and while not the most inspiring of squares in Florence is does provide a pleasant outdoor space. This is a unique place, south of the river, for a coffee, cocktail or something to eat and is a very popular and busy destination in the early evening and at weekends. Especially when there is live music on offer.
Where to find it:
Piazza del Carmine, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon,Sun: 06:00pm-01:00am
Tue-Sat: 06:00pm-02:00am


16. Gran Caffe San Marco

Gran Caffe San Marco
Directly opposite the Basilica San Marco, the bar is a professionally run establishment with a vast expanse of glass cabinets full of mouthwatering pastries. The caffe also has an outdoor terrace and covered garden section where people can go to enjoy a coffee under the shade of the trees. Originally called Caffe Fanti after General Manfredo Fanti whose statue can be seen outside, the bar was opened in 1870 and became a regular haunt for the intellectuals from the nearby academia and the university. Today it is still a favorite gathering place for locals and tourists alike who soak up the atmosphere of this delightful piazza over a cappuccino and a cake.
Where to find it:
Piazza San Marco 11r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 08:30-15:30; 17:00-21:30


17. Caffe Ricchi

Caffe Ricchi
The bar first opened in 1957 and has continued to be a meeting place for the people of the area. The church of Santo Spirito dominates the piazza with its shady trees and gently trickling fountain. Inside the caffe is a gallery of images covering the walls, dedicated to the church’s distinctive front facade. During the warm summer months the caffes in the square all put out tables and the whole piazza becomes one giant outdoor bar that is accompanied with free, live shows.
Where to find it:
Piazza Santo Spirito 8r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 07:00-01:00 (Open every 2nd Sunday)

18. Caffe Rivoire

Caffe Rivoire
Nestling in a corner of the famous Piazza Signoria and overlooking the Palazzo Vecchio and the sculptures of the Loggia dei Lanzi, Neptune’s Fountain and the copy of Michelangelo’s David. This is another of Florence’s grande caffes, which provides an idyllic place to take a rest. The Caffe Rivoire is famous for its chocolate production and Henry Rivoire’s renowned sweets were once sent to royal courts across Europe. The most delicious choice on the menu has to be the rich dark chocolate drinks topped with whipped cream, which Florentine’s elegant set have been coming to sample since 1872.
Where to find it:
Piazza della Signoria 5, Florence, Italy

Phone: 055 214412

Working Hours:
Summer Schedule: 07:30-24:00
Winter Time: 07:30-21:00
Closing day: Monday


19. Caffe Scudieri

Caffe Scudieri
This is the perfect place to sit and enjoy a coffee whilst admiring the Duomo and the Baptistry and has been a popular haunt with visitors since 1939. The Scudieri is situated in the cobbled Piazza San Giovanni, which is one of the most iconic squares in Italy so do not expect a cheap coffee break. Like any of the famous caffes you will pay for the pleasure but then you do have a gorgeous view. Along with the location they are also WiFi connected so you can catch up with people while watching the world go by.
Where to find it:
Piazza San Giovanni 19, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Tue-Sun: 07:30-20:00


20. Libreria Brac

Libreria Brac
The caffe cucina can be found within the Libreria de arte contemporanea, a bookshop full of literature on contemporary art. The cafe within, provides a range of alternative foodstuffs such as veggie dishes and an Ethiopian aperitivo on Friday nights. The as well as tasty food and drink the bookshop is a brilliant place to start an evening out before attending exhibitions, artistic presentations and the cinema, which are all close at hand. This is a great place for a cultured caffe or a cold glass of beer while watching the world go by or listening to soothing music.
Where to find it:
Via della Vagellai 18r, Florence, Italy

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 12:00pm-12:00am
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