St. Regis Winter Garden Bar, a 5 star inner garden in Florence

St. Regis Winter Garden Bar, a 5 star inner garden in Florence

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Florence, with its artistic wonders and cosmopolitan air, has become the universal dream of any traveller. The present and past essence of the Tuscan capital can be breathed in the atmosphere of historical The St. Regis Florence Hotel, which boasts a superior category in piazza Ognissanti since the mid-18th century. Placed in central Florence, at the former Palazzo Giuntini, the picturesque St. Regis Florence has been the favoured stop of experienced travellers for decades. Granted with the Gambero Rosso BAR D’ITALIA prize since 2015 and for four consecutive years, its Winter Garden Bar provides visitors with an exceptional and personalized experience. Gratify yourself with an aperitif, an afternoon tea or after dinner drink accompanied by live piano music and savour the creations arranged with fresh ingredients and masterfully prepared by Bar Manager Christian Pampo and his crew. Everyday, Bloody Mary from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., afternoon tea from 3:30 to 5 p.m., and champagne ritual from 7 to 8 p.m. Open to the public, welcoming and exquisite service.

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Procacci, wine and truffles since 1885 in Florence

Procacci, wine and truffles since 1885 in Florence

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Considered one of the most historic delicatessen in the city, the traditional and sophisticated Procacci shop is located in the heart of Florence, on centuries old and prestigious Via de’ Tornabuoni. With its historic legacy in artistry and handcraftsmanship, Procacci soon won vast recognition amongst the citizens, especially for its gastronomic specialties made with truffles, such as its famous sandwiches. Savoring these specialties continues to be a popular ritual followed both by Florentines and visitors.
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Trattoria Sergio Gozzi: authentic Tuscan “casalinga” cousine in the heart of Florence

Trattoria Sergio Gozzi: authentic Tuscan “casalinga” cousine in the heart of Florence

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This family-run trattoria, semi-hidden in Piazza San Lorenzo, shows a lot of stickers from Tripadvisor, Yelp and all of those platforms, which prepare respectable reviews of commercial establishments for tourists to visit in droves. The number of stickers on the door normally corresponds to the length of queuing. However, such claims seem to me of doubtful value, as I never had much faith in the reviews written even by acquaintances. “Casalinga” is related to the sort of cuisine, in this regard, not only homemade and Tuscan, but also highlighting the quality of the food, rather than the presentation of the dishes or the decoration of the premises. Trattoria Sergio Gozzi displays an interior design with a genuinely rustic and modest personality. The menu of the day is brief but compelling. Affordable prices.
Trattoria Sergio Gozzi (since 1915), piazza di San Lorenzo 8R, 50123 Florence | Open only at noon, no reservations | Best after 2:30 p.m.

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Gosh: cocktails & pink flamingos in Florence

Gosh: cocktails & pink flamingos in Florence

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Taking a cocktail surrounded by pink flamingos is precisely what happens in Gosh, the coolest (and a bit pretentious) cocktail bar in Oltrarno. I like to ascertain if its decoration is the result of an in-depth and well-paid interior design studio or simply due to the exquisite taste (or not) of its owner. In fact, it is noted that the owner of Gosh, Alexander Vartivarian, comes from the fashion world (he worked for Elie Saab and was trained in Polimoda). In Gosh there´s vintage furniture and the original cocktails are based on ginger, spices, flowers and mezcal, all served in metal jars, in my opinion, with too much ice. Not only the decoration of the place is the choice of Alexander himself, but also the menu and the music — “Gosh” is actually the name of his favourite song. Aperitivo, snacks are served between 18 and 21 hours. Cocktails are better when in twilight, in its relaxed atmosphere. They also offer boring cocktails without alcohol.
Gosh – Via di Santo Spirito 46R – Florence – from 6p.m. to midnight, even later on weekends.

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Spaghettini al pomodoro at Osteria-Ristorante Fratelli Briganti

Spaghettini al pomodoro at Osteria-Ristorante Fratelli Briganti

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The Osteria-Ristorante Fratelli Briganti has been recently renovated, I do not know how it looked like before, but this is how it looks like now. Any case, in this family run restaurant the appearance is the least important, in fact, what matters is the exquisite service, and above all, the quality of the homemade dishes. According to my local confidant, it is a restaurant commonly visited by journalists and by theatre and cinema-goers, as it is open until late. Its atmosphere is very familiar; one feels like being at home. “In the past, Florence was full of places like this one, but they have been disappearing slowly… this has its positive and negative sides, as always”, she tells me. Nevertheless, beyond these nostalgic perceptions, the best dish in this restaurant is the spaghettini al pomodoro, one has to try them at least once in a lifetime!
Fratelli Briganti – Piazza Giovanbattista Giorgini 12/R, 50134 Florence

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Warning! EUR150-500 fine for eating on the streets of Florence

Warning! EUR150-500 fine for eating on the streets of Florence

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Florence wants to restore the decorum of the city taken off by tourism. Thus, Dario Nardella — mayor of Florence — has recently imposed a new city regulation, which daily from 12 to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m. prohibits sitting down to eat on the sidewalks, in front of stores, and private homes in four historic central spots: Via dei Neri, Piazzale degli Uffizi, Piazza del Grano and Via della Ninna, all located within the Unesco zone. The fine will range from EUR150 up to EUR500 per “eater”. The stores show already a summary of the mandate in Italian and English by a poster placed in the shop windows. Florence is one of the most visited Italian cities. This will be a future example for other cities affected by the same touristic symptom, if this municipal ordinance has positive results. The norm will be in force from September 4, 2018, until January 6, 2019.

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Cantinetta Antinori: Tuscan wines and culinary delights

Cantinetta Antinori: Tuscan wines and culinary delights

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The art of making wine has its guild in Florence since the Middle Ages: “Dell’Arte dei Vinattieri,” in which Giovanni di Piero, the first member of the Antinori family, was registered in 1385. Following this tradition, in the Cantinetta Antinori, you can see the symbol of the craft guild. The Cantinetta is elegantly arranged in a room overlooking the central courtyard of the fifteenth-century Palazzo Antinori located in the historic city centre. The restaurant is open to the public for lunch and dinner. As a tradition, it is nowadays still possible to do the Antinori wines tasting — either by a bottle or by a glass —. The cuisine offers a selection of Tuscan specialties, which are prepared with products from the Antinori farms in Tuscany and Umbria. The menu is configured depending on the season, out of respect for the tradition of Tuscan cooking philosophy where every product from the land must be eaten during its natural season of matureness to taste all the splendor of its flavors entirely. For each dish, the personnel recommends the Antinori wine that suits the best.
Cantinetta Antinori – Piazza degli Antinori 3 – Florence

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Three-Sixty rooftop bar at Minerva Grand Hotel: panoramic aperitivo in Florence

Three-Sixty rooftop bar at Minerva Grand Hotel: panoramic aperitivo in Florence

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Located in Piazza Santa Maria Novella, this 4-star superior hotel-boutique has been recently renovated. Heading up to the sixth floor, one finds the Three-Sixty panoramic rooftop bar, with a peerless sight of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella and the most representative buildings and historical monuments of Florence. One of its first guests was the American poet Longfellow, who stayed here while working on the translation of Dante´s Divine Comedy. The terrace of this historic hotel — it is said the oldest in Florence — includes a swimming pool (exclusive for hotel guests) and a bar where, during the high season – May to September – from 7:30 p.m. onwards, one can have the aperitivo for 20 euros and touch Florence’s sky with the fingers.
To reserve a table or the private terrace for an event on the panoramic terrace, contact booking@grandhotelminerva / +39 05527230
Minerva Grand Hotel – Three-Sixty -Piazza Santa Maria Novella 16, 50123 Florence …

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Focacce di funghi e gorgonzola and Bolgheri wine at Foccaccine Bondi

Focacce di funghi e gorgonzola and Bolgheri wine at Foccaccine Bondi

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Although located in Via dell’Ariento, at the heart of the vibrant street market of San Lorenzo and next to the central market of Florence, Foccaccine Bondi is not typically crowded, so you don´t need to queue for its delicious focacce di funghi e gorgonzola (2.5 euros) with a glass of Bolgheri (3 euros). In Bondi there is always plenty of room to sit and astonishing decorative elements at which one could stare while lost in an unconscious state of introspection, to which I confess I surrender very often. Above all, I love its melancholic and nostalgic air of village tavern, which in Florence occurs (thank God), quite constantly. Such traditional interior, along with the decoration, looks as if the place was frozen in time. But the best is its senior and affectionate service.
Foccaccine Bondi – Via dell’Ariento 85R – Florence

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Al Tranvai: history and tradition of a trattoria in San Frediano

Al Tranvai: history and tradition of a trattoria in San Frediano

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We find ourselves in San Frediano, one of the most popular Florentine quartieri; set of Vasco Pratolini’s novels and where supposedly the “locals” live. Through Torquato Tasso Square, one accesses this traditional district. A stroll along its charming narrow streets is especially pleasant: numerous shops and craft workshops encourage the area commercial activity. Al Tranvai is a very narrow tavern. Here you feel like having lunch in a tram wagon — hence its name. Regarding the room, you usually eat side by side with the diner next to you, as in the old Florentine trattorie. The menu is made up of Tuscan dishes: pappa al pomodoro, ribollita or panzanella. Among the first courses stand out the tagliatelli or gnocchi served with pesto. The authentic restaurant’ specialty are, however, the second courses: Florentine tripe, lampredotto, cacciucco, di lesso salad, meatballs fried or in sauce, and francesina. Served as an accompaniment are mixed salads, ceci bolliti, fagioli all’uccelletto and homemade potatoes. For dessert, they propose various types of pie: apple, figs and walnuts or pear. Finally, to enjoy the food, it is recommended to choose a good wine, although the list is short, Al Tranvai offers some appealing suggestions.
Al Tranvai – Piazza Torcuato Tasso 14r 50124 Florence

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