2015/02/03

10 best cafes in florence

10 best cafes in Florence - Caffetteria Le Oblate © Birgitte Brøndsted

I love cafes. And by cafes I mean real cafes. Where you can actually sit down, enjoy your coffee, chat with a friend, read a paper or work on your computer.

I love the Italian bar culture as well. I don't mind having my cappuccino standing at the counter. But sometimes - actually several times a week - I want to sit down, either just for a cup of coffee or in order to have a light lunch.

Here are my favorite places to do so in Florence.


Caffetteria Le Oblate

Le Oblate is actually a public library located in what used to be a monastery. In the beautiful courtyard, among the arches, you can see young people hang around with books or laptops, and once you take the elevator up to the last floor, where the cafeteria is located, you are met by one of the most stunning views of the Duomo, which is so close to you that you feel like you can almost touch it. (Almost...)

The cafeteria has a gigantic covered outdoor terrace, which is perfect on warm summer days and nights, since there is a lovely breeze. You can have lunch or aperitif or maybe just a cup of coffee, and prices are ordinary bar prices, and by that I mean the prices you usually pay for drinking a coffee standing at the counter. Yes, in here you can have your cappuccino right in front of the Duomo, sitting on a gorgeous roof top terrace and pay less than 2 euro. Oh, and there is free wi-fi and lots of cultural events... This is an absolute must see and not a place which is easy to find if you don't know about it.

All photos in this post were taken at Le Oblate.

Neighborhood: Duomo/Repubblica

Via dell'Oriuolo 26. T. +39 055 2639685 www.caffetteriadelleoblate.it


Coccole e cioccolato

Coccole e Cioccolato was the first cafe I discovered when I moved here almost four years ago. The place sells the most delicious small pieces of chocolate and cakes for your coffee or tea. The decor is cozy with white wooden tables and chairs and some retro gadgets lying around. Perfect for a quick coffee break or as a hang out place with friends in the afternoon.

Neighborhood: San Lorenzo

Via dei Ginori 55/57r. T. +39 055 294750


Caffè Rainer

Caffè Rainer is an Austrian pastry cafe, where you can enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, tea or coffee accompanied by the most fantastic Austrian cakes. There are several things to choose from and the place also serves a delicious breakfast and lunch. There is free wi-fi, so you can bring your computer.

The first Caffè Rainer opened in Via San Zanobi right when I arrived in Florence in 2011 and apparently things have gone well for this place because they recently opened a second and bigger one in Borgo La Croce.

Neighborhood: San Lorenzo and Sant'Ambrogio

Via San Zanobi 97r. T. +39 055 5276634 / Borgo La Croce 45r. T. +39 055 3860823 www.pasticceriaaustriaca.it

10 best cafes in Florence - Caffetteria Le Oblate © Birgitte Brøndsted


Chiaroscuro

Chiaroscuro is probably the one place where I have had most quick lunches in Florence over the years.

Although I also come here just for coffee I especially like the place for lunch, where you can choose between several light dishes such as pastas, cous cous, vegetables, bruschetta etc. The prices are quite low, and the service is great. When it is time for the Italian aperitivo, you can go crazy with the large buffet and a cocktail or a glass of wine.

Neighborhood: Duomo/Repubblica

Via del Corso 13/r. T. +39 055 214247 www.chiaroscuro.it


Caffè degli Artigiani

I believe that Caffé degli Artigiani is one of the nicest cafes in Florence, especially because of the location in the Santo Spirito neighborhood.

The history of the place goes back to 1945, when there was a bar which was often visited by the artisans of the neighborhood.

Today it is a small and cosy cafe filled with a bohemian atmosphere, one of those places where you feel like sitting in a corner for hours and just write in your little black Moleskine.

The cafe lies in the beautiful Piazza della Passera, and when the weather allows it you should choose a table outside. As for the menu Caffè degli Artigiani has a delicious selection of cakes and you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner plus the famous aperitivo.

Neighborhood: Santo Spirito

Via dello Sprone 16r/Piazza della Passera. T. +39 055 291882


Volume

Volume is a mix of bookstore, cafe and museum (this used to be the "bottega" of the Bini brothers who made hat forms in wood, and today you can still see a large exhibition of all the old tools).

Volume is also the place to go if you want to listen to music, since the cafe invites young, unknown musicians to come and play during the week.

At Volume you can have lunch or you can choose to go for the sweet stuff ordering one of their delicious crepes with nutella or other fillings. The place also has a little selection of cakes and cookies and you can get a soy cappuccino in case you are a vegan. Prices are - to say it the least - cheap.

Neighborhood: Santo Spirito

Piazza Santo Spirito 5r. T.+39 055 2381460 www.volume.fi.it

10 best cafes in Florence - Caffetteria Le Oblate © Birgitte Brøndsted


Mama's Bakery

In a little street behind Piazza Santo Spirito, where as a tourist you probably would never end up on your own, you find a little piece of America, called Mama's Bakery.

The owners are an Italian/American couple and they have really managed to bring some great stuff from the US to Florence.

Here you can have bagels made as sandwiches or as a light snack with jam, nutella, cream cheese or peanut butter. You can have cup cakes, brownies, cookies, muffins and other traditional American bakery and the place also sells delicious quiches.

The cafe is really cosy with tables in the back and even outside in the little courtyard.

The place is, not surprisingly, very popular among American expats, so the environment is a great mix of international and Italian, but luckily not touristic at all.

Neighborhood: Santo Spirito

Via della Chiesa 34r. T. +39 055 219214 www.mamasbakery.it


Caffè Letterario

Caffé Letterario is located inside the former prison Le Murate. The prison was closed down in 1985 and since then the Italian architect Renzo Piano has transformed the area into a brilliant new piece of architecture where among other things you find this lovely cafe.

Caffé Letterario is located in the middle of the big courtyard. This place is magnificent on warm summer days and nights when you can sit outside and enjoy a cocktail, a glass of wine or a cup of coffee.

The place offers aperitivo, lunch and dinner and there are several cultural events such as live concerts, dj sets, exhibitions, films, events for children and much more.

Neighborhood: Sant'Ambrogio

Piazza delle Murate. T. +39 055 2346872. www.lemurate.it

10 best cafes in Florence - Caffetteria Le Oblate © Birgitte Brøndsted


Gucci Cafe

This cafe is part of the new Gucci Museum in Florence. The reason why I like the Gucci cafe is that it isn't easy to find comfortable and nice cafes which aren't the typical tourist places in this area of Florence. 

Sure the Gucci Cafe is also for tourists, and prices are indeed a bit higher than ordinary cafes, but I don't mind paying a little extra for my cappuccino when it comes with really cute Gucci sugar, Gucci napkins, Gucci biscuits and I get to drink it in beautiful surroundings while reading coffee table books and magazines. 

You get all this at the Gucci Cafe and if you bring your baby, you can change him or her on a Gucci mat in the bathroom... 

Next to the cafe you find a nice little bookstore where you an buy art and fashion books and museum accessories. 

Neighborhood: Duomo/Repubblica

Piazza della Signoria 10. T. +39 055 75923826 www.guccimuseo.com 


Arnold Coffee

Arnold Coffee is definitely very much inspired by Starbucks. What I really like about this place is the slow pace of things. You can sit down at one of the many tables and just hang out with your coffee and your computer, which is exactly what people do.

Besides selling different kinds of coffee in three different sizes (and believe me, you will only need a size small, if you are used to Italian coffee cups), you can also get typical American cakes such as donuts and cookies, and the place has a few bagels and wraps on the menu.

You can enter Arnold Coffee from Via degli Avelli and Piazza dell'Unità Italiana.

Neighborhood: Santa Maria Novella

Piazza dell'Unità italiana 15/ Via degli Avelli 8. www.arnoldcoffee.it
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