Going against the grain of traditional Italian culture, cafes and coffee shops are becoming more popular in Florence’s diverse community. Although the coffee culture of Italy differs from the Americanised idea of what comes to mind when you think of a café, Florence has quite a few cosy places for tourists and locals alike who are looking for something a bit more welcoming than the traditional Italian bar. Whether you’re looking for a place to sit and put your feet up after a long day of exploring, or just some familiar comfort food and WiFi, there are plenty of great spots around the city meant for just that.
Cafe, Cocktail Bar, European, $$$
Red Light Bar, Zach Zupancic, Flikr
This funky space has it all. Bookstore café by day, music venue and wine bar by night, La Cite is always a good choice. With its open loft overlooking the first floor and large front windows that almost reach the ceiling, this historical building has an energy all its own. Come during the day and sink into one of the eclectic array of chairs to grab a cappuccino and chat, read or study, then come back later to find a new local band and favorite new wine. It does get a little crowded in this intimate space, especially when there’s a band since there is no actual stage, so get there early for the night life.
Cafe, American, $$$
Coffee Shop Rene Schwietzke Flikr
As you probably guessed by the name, this isn’t your usual Italian coffee bar. With plenty of seating on both floors, a strong wifi connection and a great central location, Arnold Coffee is a popular destination for when you’re looking for a little piece of home; after all, its slogan is The American Coffee Experience. Reminiscent of Starbucks, they offer all flavors and sizes of coffee drinks, smoothies, and even some small snacks to enjoy as you sit. The staff speak English and it’s a common spot for overseas students to study or meet up with friends. This place has brought American coffee shop culture to Italy, so grab a table and stay as long as you like.
Cafe, American, Vegetarian, $$$
coffee, Christian, Flikr
Coffee Bar Star5112 Flikr
One of Florence’s newest crazes, Ditta Artigianale has already expanded in the past two years adding two new locations around the city and boasting its own brand of coffee. Bringing a new name to coffee culture in the city, they source and roast their own coffee and serve a little bit of everything from brunch to dinner, with a constant supply of muffins, cookies and small pastries. With a modern design (think modern hipster, wood and iron) and cosy atmosphere, you can’t help but want to spend your afternoon enjoying the fantastic coffee and good vibes. These guys know what they’re doing, with a diverse group of expats and travellers alike enjoying a breath of fresh coffee scented air, marching to the beat of their own drum.
Bakery, Cafe, Sandwich Shop, American, Gluten-free, Vegetarian, $$$
Whoopie Pies Banditob Flikr
The only All-American bakery in Florence makes you feel right at home with nearly impossible things to find anywhere else in Italy. Bagels, classic American desserts, and only American coffee, this place has the taste of home. The owners are an intercultural couple (American and Italian) who met in London, and moved to Italy. After missing some American foods from California, the couple decided to open a bakery for the student and expat community. Bright, cosy and always busy, this is great little café to stop in for a light lunch or satisfy your sweet tooth.
Bistro, Cafe, North American, Canadian, American, Vegetarian, $$$
Patio Brunch, Jason Tester Guerilla Future, Flikr
Speaking of intercultural couples opening businesses in Florence, here’s another delicious one to add to the list. This Canadian-Italian couple own and operate Le Vespe, a tiny café serving brunch and lunch with a few extras that are definitely not of Italian origin. Their selection of smoothies, healthy shakes and coffee drinks sets them apart from any similar brunch spot. Their quality ingredients and great menu are what make this place popular and always packed. Good brunch is hard to find, which is why Florence’s large expat and study abroad community know this place well. Although it’s not customary in Italy to wait for a table at a restaurant, be prepared to wait here. It’s that good.
La Murate Caffè Letterario
Cafe, Bar, Restaurant, Italian, $$$
La Murate Julio César Mesa Flikr
Hidden just outside the beaten tourist path, La Murate has more to offer than it seems. The building complex started out as a monastery, then was used as a prison, and was only recently renovated as a hip apartment complex with a built-in bar, restaurant and café bookstore. The heart of it all is Piazza delle Murate, which is the outdoor seating area connected to the bar and bookstore. Whether you want to browse the books, enjoy the piazza, or grab a drink, this is a dynamic location where you can get some quiet time outdoors or inside without leaving the city centre. The ambience is perfect here on a summer night, when you can sit outdoors with a cocktail and catch some live music or poetry reading on any day of the week.
Bakery, Cafe, Cocktail Bar, Restaurant, Contemporary, Vegetarian, $$$
Flower bike Linus Van Pelt Flikr
Part café, part florist, La Ménagère is definitely Instagram worthy. This beautifully designed restaurant is welcoming enough to sit for awhile and enjoy the atmosphere, or order an artfully arranged meal. Although the food is good, the portions are small for a meal. Downstairs they have a music area for live jazz every Friday and other live performances different nights of the week. With such an inviting atmosphere, you can pull up a chair to order a coffee and a slice of cake while planning your next trip.