The Best Places for an “aperitif” or “apericena” in Florence
In Italy, it is quite popular to meet your friends before dinner to have an “aperitif”, to order a cocktail, a beer or a glass of wine generally served with finger food.
In Florence, there are several places that have gone a bit further than finger food to go along with your drink and you’ll find a big buffet of pasta dishes, vegetables, meat and fruit salads… you can eat as much as you want, paying only for your drinks. It’s a cheap way to have dinner (often less than €10)! In Italian, we call it an “aperi-cena” which is the combination of aperitif (=aperitivo) and dinner (=cena).
So where to go? Here’s my favorite list of the best top 5 places to have a good aperitif in Florence. These are the best places in the center of Florence, since I imagine that many people coming to visit Florence don’t have a car and it would be hard to move by bus… I can assure you there’s plenty of other nice clubs in the suburbs.
Moyo – Located close to Santa Croce square not far from Ponte Vecchio, this fashionable place is in one of the most lively streets in Florence, where you’ll also find many clubs and bars. Even if it lies in a touristy area, it’s well attended even by local Florentines. During the day, it’s a normal bar but after 6pm the atmosphere is completely different with loud music, special LED light effects and high heeled girls.
The menu changes throughout the week: for example, on Monday, there’s a big selection of pizza and pasta, on Wednesday, you can taste an ethnic food, on Sunday, enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries… You just take the plastic plate and serve yourself from the buffet. You pay only what you order to drink (€ 8 more or less).
Kitsch – Located in Piazza Beccaria without the need to cross the viali that surround the historical center. As soon as you enter this club, you’ll understand the reason for the name: very peculiar furniture! This is the place to go if you are hungry since the quantity of the food is incredible with many different types of appetizers, cold pasta and vegetables. I recommend you go before 7:30pm to find a seat. There’s also an outdoor seating area, but I prefer to stay inside because the passing cars can make it very noisy outside!
Zoe / Negroni – These two clubs are neighbors in “Diladdarno” (which means on the other side of the River Arno) and are well-known by Florentines. They are a sort of institution: everybody living in Florence has been there at least once in his or her life.
Sometimes they change the color of the walls or the DJ selection, but they keep the same target of customers which tend to be those that love spending their evenings checking each other’s style out (if you want to know what’s trendy in Florence, definitely go here to have a look!)
They serve a good aperitif with good food included although the cost of the cocktail is not as cheap as other places (around € 9 in any case). Some outdoor seats are available, but people prefer to stand on the street, drinking and smoking and talking, of course!
SUMMER BEST SPOT
Hotel rooftop terraces – During the summer, the best place for an aperitif is… on the rooftops of Florence! Many hotels open their private terraces to non-guests. Don’t miss the opportunity to admire the Duomo with the Brunelleschi’s dome or Giotto’s bell tower from a different point of view.
I personally adore the aperitif at the Hotel Minerva in Santa Maria Novella Square: there’s a swimming pool on the roof and you can have a drink by the pool. It’s a little bit expensive, but the view is worth it. Other hotels with a good panorama and good aperitif are Hotel Laurus and Hotel Baglioni.
PERFECT DURING WINTER
Santino – This is a different type of place that is perfect during the winter or on a rainy day. If you are with your special one and you prefer a cozy place with few tables and a wide selection of wines, cheeses and hams, you should go to Santino. Owned by the same owners of the restaurant a few steps away (Osteria del Santo Bevitore), it’s a tiny cave with 3 tables and a small bar. You can order some dishes from the menu (they cost 6-7 euros each) and an excellent glass of Italian wine or an artisan beer. Candle lights, silence and the typical smell of the cellar will create the perfect ambiance for your intimate aperitif in Florence!