If you want to see something a bit more local in Florence, you should leave the center and pay a visit to the neighborhood where I live: Le Cure.
Le Cure is like a little village within the city. To get here you can jump on bus no. 1A or 1B and get off in Piazza delle Cure. Bus no. 7 (the one which takes you to Fiesole) also stops very close to Piazza delle Cure, in Viale dei Mille. If you prefer to walk it's app. 30 minutes from Piazza San Marco.
Le Cure is special. Beautiful, charming, a bit old fashioned and very local. There are lots of great places to check out. Here are my personal favorites.
This is our local gelateria and meeting point for everyone in Le Cure. Gelateria Cavini is also a bar and outside you will find a long permanent line of chairs, where you can find locals of all ages hanging out every day for a chat, a glass of wine or an ice cream.
Cavini has won several prices for their ice creams and they are indeed very good. My favorite is the semifreddo caffé but I am also very impressed with the vegan chocolate ice cream made entirely from sugar, water and cocoa.
Piazza delle Cure 19-23r. T. +39 055 587489
Mercato delle Cure
Every morning from Monday to Saturday one of the most picturesque fruit and vegetable markets in Florence takes place in Piazza delle Cure. From early morning until lunch time you can shop fresh produce together with the locals. Don't forget the camera if you like to take photos. You can see why in this post from the market.
Piazza delle Cure.
The name Cucchietta is made up of Cucchiaio (Spoon) and Forchetta (Fork). The restaurant is a bit more modern than most Italian restaurants, both in terms of the decor and the menu, which however is Tuscan.
Prices are very reasonable and service is super friendly. The menu includes pasta dishes, pizzas, and several main courses.
Cucchietta also has a lot of less ordinary antipasti, many of which are vegetarian. It's the perfect place to go, when you want to experience a mix of modern Italian cuisine and some local neighborhood atmosphere. I'm pretty sure you won't meet any tourists here.
Via Agnolo Firenzuola 15r. T. +39 055 578889 www.cucchietta.it
Casa della Pizza
This is where I go to get my take away pizza when I'm too lazy to cook or simply in the mood for a pizza. Service is great and quick, and pizzas are paper thin - just the way I like it.
Via Fra' Jacopo Passavanti 24. T. +39 055 571458
Totò and the sottopassaggio delle Cure
Totò is an elder man who takes care of the "sottopassaggio", the underpass in Le Cure. Several times every day I pass by Totò, who plays music, washes the pavement, speak to people and sometimes send you a lovely smile. They call him l'Angelo delle Cure (The Angel of Le Cure).
From a recent interview he did with "Te la do io Firenze" I know that he is Sicilian, and that he has taken take of the underpass for…. TWENTY YEARS! Can you believe that? And without receiving anything in exchange.
Since I saw him the first time I have been dying to to photograph him, you know make a real portrait series. But I'm just too shy to ask, so for now you will have to do with this photo, which I took in the underpass. It's a murales of Totò made by one of the many artists who constantly decorate the underpass with colorful street art.
To read more about Totò (in Italian) and to see him kind of break dance have a look at the above mentioned interview from Te la do io Firenze.
Libreria Punti Fermi
Punti Fermi is a lovely book and toy store. The selection of children's books is impressive, and the quality is very high. Punti Fermi is also an ordinary bookstore for grown ups and it has all the charm of the classic independent book store which we all love so much and which are fortunately becoming increasingly more popular in Florence.
Via Bocaccio 49r. T. +39 055 3840513 www.libreriapuntifermi.it
Il Buon pane
There are many great bakeries (forni) in Le Cure but one of my favorites is this little shop in Via Bocaccio where locals come to buy their schiacciata fiorentina, bread, cakes, pizza and even some home made primi.
Via Giovanni Bocaccio 47. T. +39 055 5048367
Antica Bottega del Pane Caffé
This is one of the most charming coffee bars I have seen in Florence. Besides selling the ordinary "bar stuff" such as coffee and cornetti the place also has a great selection of delicious pizza slices and sandwiches. The bar is in fact part of the bakery called The Antica Bottega del Pane located right around the corner in Via Faentina.
You can also buy wine, chocolate and several other delicacies + the place has soy milk for your cappuccino - something which I personally appreciate very much.
Via Vincenzo Borghini 21r. T. +39 055 5000048 www.anticabottegadelpane.it
This is one of the never places in Le Cure and I am already a big fan. Not only is this one of the only real cafes in the neighborhood where you can actually sit down at a table and enjoy your coffee and cake (and there are some very delicious cakes to try in here), the place also serves homemade vegan cakes such as the yummy chocolate cake topped with strawberries. Prices are more than reasonable.
Via del Ponte alle Riffe 26r. T. + 39 055 0672829 www.dolcipensierifirenze.it
Area Pettini Burresi
This is the absolute best park and playground in Le Cure and definitely also among the best ones in Florence. Lots of space, lots of green lawns and a wonderful hang out spot for all ages. The place is also the perfect location for outdoor birthday parties because of the many benches and tables available.
During summer it stays open until late in the evening and dogs have recently been allowed as well. (Speaking about dogs: Mommies and daddies in Le Cure would very much appreciate if dog owners could keep their dogs out of the playground area right around the time when he/she has to "go". It's pretty annoying when your child comes to you with an old dog poop in his/her hand asking what it is.)
Via Faentina 145
Boutique della Pasta Fresca
I already did a separate blog post about the last place I want to mention. At la Boutique della Pasta Fresca you can buy all kinds of different super fresh homemade pasta to bring home for lunch or dinner. Choose between lasagne, tortellini, fettucine, ravioli, gnocchi etc.
The place is also great for lunch where you can sit down and enjoy a dish of fresh homemade pasta. Click HERE to read my full blog post about Boutique della Pasta Fresca.
Via Domenico Cirillo 2/c. T. +39 055 578087