There are two types of bakeries in Italy, those who make primarily sweets (pasticceria), and those who focus on savoury pastries and breads (forno). And at larger bakeries or bars, you can find a little bit of everything.
Bakery, Bar, Cafe, Patisserie, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Rivoire, Christian, Flikr
This is one of the oldest existing bakeries in the city, among others listed below. Rivoire is famous for their great pastries, and amazing hot chocolate. Located in Piazza della Signoria, you can stop by anytime for something sweet. It’s also a restaurant, so you can sit and enjoy your pastry breakfast on their large patio as you people watch.
Bakery, Restaurant, Cafe, Cocktail Bar, Patisserie, Italian, $$$
This bakery is in Piazza del Duomo, another one of the classic bakeries in the centre of Florence. Due to its great location, it’s always busy. They bake an array of pastries, sweet and savoury, and have great coffee. Try one of their mini cakes as you take in the view of the Duomo and Baptistery, right outside the window.
Bakery, Cafe, Patisserie, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
Gilli, Alessandro Scarcella, Flikr
Piazza della Repubblica is lined with restaurant patios that look as if they belong to one continuous place, but actually there are four classic restaurants. Although Gilli is one of the four that blend together, this place has its own character, and boasts a fantastic selection of pastries, cakes, small desserts, and cookies served by their professional and well-dressed staff. It’s also a restaurant and the patio is perfect for people watching.
Bakery, Cafe, Patisserie, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
This is another one of the classic places in Piazza della Repubblica that has been around for decades. Extremely similar to Gilli mentioned above, the staff are dressed well in suits, the pastries, cookies, cakes and small desserts colourfully decorate the display cases and windows, and they also have a giant patio for dining. Of course, as any good place in the centre, it is almost always full, and the prices are a little on the high side. But not only are there great baked goods, coffee, wine, and food, the décor and architecture of the classic bakeries like this one is stunning as well.
Bakery, Bar, Cafe, Ice Cream Parlour, Patisserie, Italian, $$$
Although this place is outside of the city centre and is a bit off the beaten track, you can’t have a Best Bakeries list without mentioning Badiani. Always full of locals, this place is really worth the trip. Not only are they well-known for their signature sweets, they are also famous for their amazing gelato, arguably the best in town. Talk about a double whammy of goodness!
Bakery, Bar, Cafe, Patisserie, Italian, $$$
This place is relatively new to the Florence bakery and coffee scene, and is confidently located near Badiani, an established local favourite. Bar Lorenzo is definitely for locals as it’s tucked near a neighbourhood deep in the suburbs of Florence. Not only are they ahead of the scene by hand roasting their own coffee, they also make some of the best pastries in the city. Surprisingly, they’ve managed to stay a well-kept secret (maybe because local Florentines like to stick to what they know), but they have regulars and the place is always full for breakfast at the weekends. A piece of advice; if you’re going to travel out of the centre, hit this place for coffee and a pastry, then head to Badiani for gelato and a small dessert to go for later.
Forno Pintucci Centro
Bakery, Italian, $$$
This place is more of what comes to mind when you think of a classic bakery. They make sweets as well as breads and savoury goodies, and this is a great place to buy cantuccini
(what non-Italians know as Italian biscotti). They offer 3 types; classic with almonds, chocolate with hazelnuts, or classic with chocolate chunks. They also serve fresh baked breads, pizzete
(bite sized pizzas on a flakey pastry base instead of pizza dough), and small savoury snacks. You can find locals buying their daily bread here in the morning as it is a neighbourhood bakery. They sell things by weight and make classic Italian goods that you might have a harder time finding at other places.
Cantucci, Visit Tuscany, Flikr
Gran Caffè San Marco
Bakery, Bar, Cafe, Patisserie, Pizzaria, Italian, $$$
A little off the beaten tourist path, this is another one of the oldest bakeries in Florence; one part pizzeria, one part restaurant, one part bakery, and one part “fast food” place (they have a section that is cafeteria-style for tourists on the go). The pastries, cakes, sweets, and focaccia bread are all made in-house as they have been for decades. They also have good coffee and are located in a piazza with a gorgeous underrated church that most tourists wouldn’t visit. Have breakfast here, then explore the church and the surrounding area. It can get a bit busy as this square is a hub for almost all the city buses and there’s a main university building here, too.
Bakery, Pizzaria, Italian, $$$
This small place on the corner is pretty new, and has pizza by the slice, small savoury goods and quick snacks, both sweet and salty, all made in their wood-burning oven. Although it’s not exactly your classic Italian bakery, it’s still worth a mention.
Similar Forno in Milan, Dana, Flikr
Sandwich Shop, Italian, Vegetarian, $$$
If you’re still hungry after grabbing a small snack, this sandwich shop is also amazing (the name is a combination of the words sandwich and chic, hence SandwhiChic). Although technically not a bakery, they only use authentic bread and local ingredients. They make their sandwiches using your choice of schiacciata (a salty and delicious Tuscan focaccia bread) or classic pane Toscana (Tuscan bread, traditionally made without salt, with a hard outer crust and a soft inside) which they get fresh every morning from an old family-owned bakery nearby. The place is small, but loaded with charm and decorated with all the old trimmings of the old tailoring supply shop it once was, with buttons, measuring tapes and thread used as décor. The staff wear bowties and overalls, the menu is hand written, and there is always old 1920s jazz playing in the background. They really do a great job creating a good ambiance and keeping the vintage charm of the building’s history.