The 10 Best Breakfast and Brunch Spots in Florence, Italy
Le Vespe | Courtesy of Le Vespe
Brunch, everyone’s favourite meal – the joy of gathering together for a lazy morning filled with good food, good friends and good conversation. Here’s where to enjoy Florence’s best breakfasts and brunches.
While the Italian Sunday tradition is a classic, three-hour, multi-course family pranzo (lunch) with friends or extended family, in trendy and fashion-conscious Florence, the fine continental art of weekend brunch is taking off. City resident Sabrina Crawford shares her favourite Florence brunch spots where you can pair a delicious plate of scrambled eggs or pancakes with killer cocktails to start your day with a kick.
Chic and comfortable, Floret is the place to pop in mid-morning if you’re seeking an island of calm away from the stress of the buzzing city. Located on the busy shopping street of Via Roma, on the upper level of luxury designer shop Luisa, Floret’s interior is akin to a glamourous greenhouse, with a jungle’s worth of indoor plants and lounge sofas perfect for relaxing. On the health-conscious menu you’ll find cold-pressed juices, house-made smoothies and Californian-inspired menu options including colourful salads, hummus platters, avocado breads and a fresh and zingy passion-fruit chia bowl.
Ditta Artigianale sells a selection of beans to take home and brew yourself | Courtesy of Ditta Artigianale
Known throughout Florence as a hipster haven for those seeking fancy coffee, Ditta Artigianale also lands on most locals’ “best brunch spots” list. The vibe is decidedly arty, with an eclectic mix of 1960s-inspired and modern furnishings, and the location is unbeatable; this well-known, well-loved café is just steps from Santo Spirito. The coffee here is famously heavenly, but so is the food – and everyone who goes raves about the cocktails. Along with first-rate negronis and spritzes, you can sample a dizzying array of speciality gins. Classic brunches include smoked-salmon bagels, perfectly poached eggs and avocado toast. With an airy, two-floor vintage lounge bar and outdoor patio, this café is ideal for groups and perfect for people watching.
Tiny but mighty, Le Vespe does brunch and only brunch – and it does it exceptionally well. This local favourite is nestled in the heart of the Santa Croce neighbourhood, and its popularity is evident by the line that’s almost always stationed outside. But it’s well worth the wait. Started by two friends (one Canadian, one Florentine), Le Vespe is the go-to spot for homesick American and Canadian study-abroad students craving a taste of home. Relaxed and friendly, it’s the place to go for North American-style brunch; familiar comfort food includes avocado toast, breakfast wraps, egg and bacon dishes and home-made juices and smoothies. The menu is also great for vegetarians, vegans and those looking for gluten-free options.
The bright orange interior, old-fashioned booths and faux 1950s-Americana decor might seem strangely out of place along the cobbled streets of Renaissance Florence, but that’s just part of The Diner’s charm. Tucked in the historic city centre on a quiet little street behind the Bargello, this place does tried and tested American diner fare: eggs and bacon, omelettes and even burgers, if you’re craving a brunch that’s more lunch than breakfast. The pancakes are definitely the star of the show here, getting rave reviews from seemingly everyone who tries them. You’ll often find twentysomething Florentines wedged into the booths here, delighting in the novelty of The Diner’s kitschy, one-of-a-kind ambience while trying out American classics.
Though Florence is filled with exceptional pastries and cakes, it’s hard to find American-style sweet treats; enter Mama’s, a bakery in the heart of the Oltrarno that specialises in exactly this. Run by American investment-banker-turned-baker Matt Reinecke and his Italian wife, Christina, Mama’s sells mouth-watering American delights such as house-made bagels with a variety of flavoured cream cheeses, muffins, banana bread, cinnamon rolls and that indulgent Saturday morning delight, doughnuts. Here you can settle in on the outdoor patio to enjoy savoury brunch quiches, BLTs and sandwiches on home-baked baguettes. Be sure to save room for a brownie, a frosted cupcake or a slice of apple pie – truly rare treats in Florence, and all home-made.
Pancake stacks smothered with syrup, fruit or decadent chocolate chips; classic egg, bacon and potato breakfast combos; and even Southern-style waffles and fried chicken keep Florentines coming back to Rooster again and again. In this low-key and comfortable café, you’ll discover brunch dishes to warm your heart and fill your stomach. The wide menu includes creative veggie and vegan-friendly options, fresh juices and artisan beers. Brick walls, wooden tables and a small bar area with classic barstools give Rooster an easygoing vibe that’s the perfect chilled-out way to start your weekend. Just minutes from the Duomo, the relaxed Rooster will take you out of the tourist fray and make you feel right at home.
How do you like your eggs in the morning? At Nu Ovo, where the tagline is “lovely eggsperience”, you can have them almost any way you like. This boutique and modern location tucked inside the Grand Hotel Cavour is named for an Italian play on words that roughly translates as “new egg”. It has one house speciality, and it’s not hard to crack what it is. This humble protein is jazzed up in a wide variety of eye-catching, creative ways: from truffle-topped eggs and egg pasta dishes to a truly innovative dish called the Chic Egg, which comes with caviar, squid ink and vodka.
Steps away from the Santa Maria Novella train station, this cosy café is the ideal spot to pop in for breakfast en route to your destination – it even offers handy on-site luggage storage. Go for the quick, classic Italian pastry and coffee wake-up, choosing from an array of creative coffee options such as a perfect roast served with dollops of pistachio cream or Nutella. If you have time, it’s definitely worth lingering for brunch; menu highlights include fried egg and avocado toast, pancakes, omelettes, fresh juices and smoothies. Run by two friends, the café offers a warm atmosphere that makes visitors here feel a casa (right at home) whether they are native Florentines or just passing through.
Bakery, Cafe, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Italian, Contemporary, Vegetarian, $$$
When the sun is shining and your stomach is growling, head to the Sunday buffet brunch at Il Rifrullo, a beloved local institution. The large, secluded back patio here at the foot of Porta San Miniato is perfect for large groups and family get-togethers. The excellent Sunday brunch is one of the best in town, featuring a large buffet of Tuscan meats, cheeses, scrambled eggs, pastas, fruit and desserts. The set price includes the buffet plus coffee, juice and water. (Cocktails are extra, but well worth the splurge on a special occasion.) The back patio here is the perfect place to sip a bellini and relax before hiking up the nearby stairs to Piazzale Michelangelo to take in stunning views of Florence.
For something truly decadent, book the famous Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons. With a wild array of palate-tingling creations from the Michelin-star kitchen of executive chef Vito Mollica, it’s a brunch experience unlike any other in Florence. Set in the lavish grand hotel – a refurbished majestic Renaissance palazzo – the buffet-style, interactive, open-kitchen Sunday brunch is renowned throughout the city. Here you can watch the chefs in action, whipping up modern twists on regional classics made from fresh, local ingredients. Book a terrace table if you can to fully enjoy the wonders of the lush gardens. Family friendly, the restaurant offers discounted rates for teens and children.