The tradition of modern Italian aperitivo originated in Turin in 1786, when vermouth (aromatized, fortified wine flavored with various botanicals) was invented. During the nineteenth century the habit of consuming alcoholic beverages before meals, in order to stimulate the appetite, quickly spread throughout Italy. Florence played a role in the aperitivo history too: the Negroni cocktail (⅓ of Gin + ⅓ of bitter Campari + ⅓ of sweet red vermouth + 1 slice of orange), which over the years has become one of the most popular pre-meal drink, was invented here in 1919. The aperitivo tradition is still very much in vogue in town, and bars and bistro arrange various menus, in order to offer their customers the typical pre-dinner drink, sided by more or less generous snacks. A cold beer, a glass of wine, spirits or cocktails: the options for an aperitivo are many. Follow us and discover 10 aperitivo bars you have to try in Florence.
The classics of Florence Movida
The cocktail and wine bars overlooking the most popular squares in Florence.
Enoteca Caffé Sant’Ambrogio
The Sant’Ambrogio district has always been the centre of Florentine nightlife, and Wine bar Caffè Sant’Ambrogio, which overlooks the square of the same name, has been the heart and soul of the neighborhood for over 25 years. You can stop at Sant’Ambrogio before or after shopping at the market. Have a coffee and pastry in the morning, or a delicious meal at lunchtime. The menu includes refined pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches and delicacies such as mackerel fillets and mussels salad, strictly fresh. After 06:00 pm the square comes alive, and the local start gathering around Caffè sant’Ambrogio. The bar displays over 64 labels of wine, with prices ranging from 4 to 12 euros per glass. Cocktail Martini is also a must try. The buffet menu includes pasta, salads, ham, croutons. Upon request, guests can also have a delicious oyster snack. Enoteca Caffé Sant’Ambrogio is located in Piazza Sant’Ambrogio 7. On the official facebook page you can find more information.
A gastronomic and recreational centre in Oltrarno, the Santo Spirito district is another major nightlife meeting point in Florence. The popular Pop Café, overlooking Piazza Santo Spirito, is one of the places that made the history of the neighborhood. The day at Pop Café starts at eight o’clock, and goes on untill late at night. At lunch one can taste delicacies of all kinds: burgers, soups, croutons and salads, always being sure to find fresh products and seasonal vegetables. During the aperitif one can drink beers, cocktails and selected wines, while enjoying a buffet of pasta, couscous and crudités. Drinks after drink, it is possible to stay up to 02:00 in the morning, listening to the music of the most famous Florentine DJs. But Pop Café is not only about nightlife. As a matter of fact, its walls frequently turn into art spaces, hosting temporary exhibitions by some of the most interesting local artists. Pop Café is located in Piazza Santo Spirito 18a red. On the official facebook page you can find more information.
Easy Living is the urban beach project that Piazzart has been promoting since 2008 on the Arno bank near Piazza Poggi. Over the years it has become a landmark of summer in Florence. The place offers the chance to sip a beer, a spritz or a cocktail while relaxing on a deck chair, witnessing a breathtaking sunset. At lunch you will find a wide selection of sandwiches, salads, fruit smoothies. At dinner you can also enjoy pasta dishes, and delicious main courses. The Easy Living beach and kiosk are located in Piazza Poggi. On www.easylivingfirenze.it you can find more information.
Medium-High Budget Aperitivo
The most exclusive locations, for those willing to spend a few euros more.
Golden View is a 650 square meters wide restaurant / pizzera / wine bar with a spectacular view of the Arno, Ponte Vecchio, the Vasari Corridor and the Uffizi Gallery, where everything is curated to the smallest details. From 06:00 pm, in the café area is possibl to enjoy aperitivo with Buffet. Fabiano Buffolino, skilled barman, supervises the activities of the cocktail bar, which offers a wide selection of spirits – especially the excellent Gin – but also has red, white, rosé and sparkling wines from all over Italy. Golden View is located in Via de Bardi 54/56 red. On http www.goldenviewopenbar.com you can find more information.
Ditta Artigianale Oltrarno
Opened in 2014 by entrepreneur Francesco Sanapo, Ditta Artigianale recently added a new branch, located in Via dello Sprone, in Oltrarno, though as a place to make customers feel welcome from 08:00 am to 12:00 pm. Starting from 06:00 pm the American Bar displays over 150 varieties of Gin from all over the world, a wide selection of spirits (vodka, rum, whiskey, tequila and mezcal), white and red wines and a varied cocktail list. Two professional bartenders such as Kareem Bennett and Natalia Mazzilli interpret classic drinks in a modern way, creating very sophisticated cocktails. We recommend the “Ditta Artigianale Spritz”, based on “slow gin” – an infusion of blackthorn – prosecco, soda and basil leaf, or their version of the classic Negroni, that blends gin, campari bitters vermouth and high quality bitter with orange marmalade and ginger. Ditta Artigianale Oltrarno is located in Via dello Sprone 5 red. On www.dittaartigianale.it you can find more information.
Colle Bereto has always been synonymous with exclusive nightlife in town. It offers an ideal stop for those visiting the Strozzina Gallery, or those going to see an original language movie at the nearby Odeon Cinema. If you happen to be in the area, stop by to have a Fashion Colle or a Tropical Jungle. For wine lovers, we recommend one of the labels from the Colle Bereto winery: the Tocco, the Cenno, Chianti Classico Riserva or ColleB, a rosé sparkling wine. The buffet offers Italian and ethnic delicacies, to be savored while listening to the best DJ. Colle Bereto is located in Piazza Strozzi 5 red. On www.cafecollebereto.com you can find more information.
Organic and vegetarian Aperitivo
For those who prefer organic food, or follow a vegetarian / vegan diet
Borgo Santa Croce connects Via dei Benci with Piazza Santa Croce. For years it has been an anonymous area of transit between the nightlife centres of Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrogio. Nowadays, though, various cocktail bars are located in Borgo Santa Croce, sharing a slow philosophy that sets them apart from their more frantic neighbors. Among these, Quelo is the favorite destination of those who prefer a vegetarian or vegan diet. Open from early morning until late at night, Quelo is an ideal stop for breakfast or lunch, thanks to its homemade cakes and sandwiches. The bar has a wide and fine selection of alcoholic drinks: during the aperitivo time you can sip a glass of wine, or treat yourself with a cocktail. The buffet menu, strictly vegan, includes couscous with vegetables, rice salads, beans, crudités, tzatziki and hummus. Quelo is located in Borgo Santa Croce 15 red. On the official facebook page you can find more information.
Just a few years ago, Via Faenza was one of the most neglected areas in town. Squeezed between Piazza San Lorenzo and the Santa Maria Novella train station, it offered very few attractions to tourists. Recently, though, the area has been experiencing a rebirth, thanks to the opening of various ethnic restaurants, pubs and cocktail bars. Été Bistrò is the perfect destination for an aperitivo in Via Faenza. Open from 11:00 am to 11:00 pm, this small cocktail bar pays great attention to the quality and origin of its food and beverages. Local products, possibly organic, are favoured. Besides a good selection of red and white wines, at Été you can enjoy cocktails, including a super spicy Bloody Mary. The delicious platters of local cold cuts and cheeses, as well as the electronic music selections, are worthy of mention. Été Bistrò is located in Via Faenza 55 red. On the offical facebook page can find more information.
Regional and Caribbean traditions, for those who look for something different from the usual aperitivo.
Opened in October 2015, the spritz bar Dorsoduro 3821 is a little piece of Venice in the heart of Florence. The owners exclusively offer goods from northern Italy, preparing them in accordance with methods of the Venetian tradition. As the spritz-bar definition reveals, their drink of choice is the Spritz, the undisputed king of the Venetian aperitivo. At Dorsoduro 3821 one can find this drink in 4 variants: the prosecco and the soda are mixed with various bitters, including the popular Aperol and Campari, the Select or even the Cinar, an artichoke-based bitter that is rarely associated with this type of drink. To side your drink, try the typical bell-shaped sandwiches from the Venetian tradition, prepared fresh every morning using tuna and mayonnaise or ham, as the rule requires. Dorsoduro 3821 is located in Via San Gallo 41 red. On the official facebook page you can find more information.
In the last few years Sabor Cubano stood up as one of the best cocktail bars in the San Lorenzo area. Located under the arcades that surround the San Lorenzo square, facing the new Central Market, the bar is the Cuban embassy of taste in Florence. The selection of alcoholic beverages comes from the Caribbean tradition, and the Cuban Rum is obviously the spirit of choice. At Sabor Cubano you can find the best Mojito (try also the tamarind-flavoured variant), Daiquiri and Pinha Colada, prepared by an expert barman and offered at the special price of 5 euro. To side your drink try the fried plantains. If you are looking for a proper meal, order their tasty chicken, rice, beans and salad dish. Sabor Cubano is located in Via Sant’Antonino 64 red. On the official facebook page you can find more information.