There are so many delicious and different foods to try in Florence, the options can be overwhelming. Depending on how much time you have in the Renaissance city, it might be hard to fit everything in with only three meals a day! My advice is to sample as many as possible of the following Tuscan favorites, as food is one of the best ways to understand Italian culture and enjoy your time in beautiful Florence. These are the top ones to try, so add them to your list for when travel to Italy is open again.
Of course we must start with something sweet! Italians typically choose sweet over savory when eating breakfast, so be prepared for a little sugar to start your day the Italian way. Bomboloni are basically deep-fried donuts, filled with either cream or chocolate (sometimes even nutella). Depending on where you are, the bomboloni (or bombolono, if you’re having just one) will either be sugar coated or glazed. They make for a delicious breakfast with your cappuccino. Or, if you’ve already had breakfast then try one for a snack in one of the many pasticcerias across Florence!
It wouldn’t be Italy if there wasn’t a type of bread for each region. And bread definitely falls into the category of foods to try in Florence. Schiacciata is purely Tuscan, and is sometimes made with olives or tomatoes in the dough. If you’re lucky enough to be in Florence in the fall, try schiacciata all’uva, a flat bread made with fresh, ripe grapes. It’s only available during the harvest season.
This delicacy is not for the faint of heart. Only in Italy could cow guts be considered tasty! Lampredotto is just that: the fourth stomach of the cow, made into a sandwich with a rich broth. It’s often served in Florence from small street vendors, or little to-go windows built into the side of a building. When I lived in Florence, there was a lampredotto stand on my corner that smelled heavenly, but I never had the courage (or should I say guts?) to try it! Maybe next time.
4. Bistecca Fiorentina
If you are a meat lover, than this is about as serious as a steak can get. It should be top of your list of foods to try in Florence. It is a sirloin cut, and seasoned very simply. The Bistecca Fiorentina is a very large steak, so many diners opt to share it. Don’t be afraid if it comes out looking rare, this is exactly how it’s supposed to be served.
5. Wild Boar
To continue with the meat, or carne, theme, next on the list of foods to try in Florence is wild boar. Like the Bistecca Fiorentina, it’s something you can really only find in Tuscany. Since Florence is in the heart of Tuscany, you’re in luck! Boars are overpopulated, so they are commonly found on the menu in trattorias, typically paired with a wider handmade pasta such as pappardelle or tagliatelle. Imagine a steaming, hearty plate of pasta placed in front of you, with tender pieces of wild boar and an aroma that will reach deep into your soul.
6. Prosciutto di Cinta Senese
Try this wonderful prosciutto on a panino or at aperitivo (which might be Italy’s best invention). If you’re unfamiliar, aperitivo is a time to meet with friends and have a drink before dinner. It always includes food, either buffet-style or served to your table, as Italians hardly ever drink without food. Follow suit and enjoy the prosciutto and other high-end cold cuts that might come your way. In the summer, try prosciutto con melone. This is a simple dish that’s perfect for a hot day, as it’s just prosciutto, melon (usually cantaloupe), and a drizzle of olive oil.
7. Pecorino di Pienza
I can’t mention prosciutto without also mentioning a cheese to go with it. Otherwise known as sheep’s cheese, pecorino is a Tuscan staple, and for good reason. Try a drop of aged balsamic on it for a delightful little bite! Or, order a panino with pecorino on it. You will not be disappointed by the sharp and distinct flavor of this cheese.
Truffles are little morsels of heaven, seriously. If you aren’t familiar, they are an edible form of fungi, like mushrooms. However, they grow underground and can only be found by using special dogs who are expertly trained to hunt for them in the forests. Sounds magical, doesn’t it? You’ll realize why they’re so expensive and sought after once you’ve tasted pasta with truffle shavings, or olive oil infused with truffle. The taste will take you straight to taste bud dreamland.
9. Pappa al Pomodoro
Many items of Tuscan fare are really poor man’s food, pappa al pomodoro being one of them. Many Italians believe no food should go to waste, so people made use of their stale bread by putting it in this soup. It’s a thick tomato soup that basically consists of the tomatoes, and bread. The soup is very simple, and can be eaten before the main course. It’s something you can really only find in this region, so make sure it’s on your list of foods to try in Florence.
We started with something sweet and of course have to end with something sweet! It’s common in Italy to finish a meal with a digestivo, which is any kind of liqueur that will help you digest what you’ve just eaten. In fact, even the courses in Italy are set up for best digestion practices (that’s why the salad comes after the main course, unlike before in America). In Florence and the surrounding regions, vin santo is a popular drink after dinner. It is a type of dessert wine and is often brought to the table with cantucci, a type of biscotti. The cantucci is dipped in the vin santo to make it softer to chew! Or if you’re sampling them in the morning, dip it into your coffee for a delightful treat.
I hope this gave you a great idea of all the wonderful foods to try in Florence, Italy. Send this post to your friends who want to travel to Italy!
Featured Image Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BUKdJylhh0B/
Images via @theartfuleveryday on Instagram.
Maggie is the blogger behind The Artful Everyday, a travel and lifestyle blog dedicated to living intentionally and finding beauty in the ordinary. She loves the idea that we get to escape our normal lives when we travel, and that it allows us to be more open to the world and its cultures. Maggie lived in Florence while studying abroad, then was an au pair in Rome last fall. She is very passionate about traveling in Europe, especially Italy, and living abroad. Maggie studied Interior Design at the University of Minnesota, but is currently pursuing a career in writing.