Lunch: welcome to the slow food movement
You’ll soon see the wisdom of having such a light breakfast. Lunch in Tuscany is a leisurely affair – and even in the big city, Florentines will frequently take a few hours over it. If you have time to spare, you could attempt to work your way through a multi-course feast:
- Antipasto: appetisers include toasted bread topped with lardo di colonnata – cured strips of pure pork fat that have to be tried at least once.
- Primi: look out for ribollita – a classic vegetable and bread soup. You might also spot hand-made pappardelle pasta.
- Secondi: in a region known for its wild game, expect to see wild boar, hare and pheasant on the menu – stewed, roasted or made into a pasta sauce.
- Contorni: popular side dishes include grilled artichoke and succulent cannellini beans drizzled with olive oil.
- Formaggi e frutta: from springy pecorino with pears to ricotta with berries.
- Dolce: after all that indulgence, dessert is often surprisingly light: fresh fruit or hard cantucci biscuits dipped in sweet Vinsanto wine.
- Caffe: lunch closes with espresso, naturally.
If that seems like overkill, it’s perfectly acceptable to pick just one or two courses. Many locals eat at home, but a Florentine favourite for a sit-down lunch is Vini e Vechi Sapori, a small osteria with a handwritten menu pinned to the door, close to the Uffizi.
For a quick bite, few places beat the Mercato Centrale (open until late). On the ground floor, stalls are piled high with fresh produce. While upstairs, a stylish food court gives you the chance to pick from antipasto platters, freshly prepared pasta and more. Take a seat for table service from the market bars.
Wildcard: Florence isn’t all traditional Tuscan feasting. If you’ve been exploring Santo Spirito, drop into ultra-hip #RAW for raw vegan fare. Think zingy, cold-pressed juice, and salads and burgers’ spiced up with fresh, flavour-packed sauces.