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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Trattoria Coco Lezzone: bistecca alla fiorentina for celebrities in Florence

Trattoria Coco Lezzone: bistecca alla fiorentina for celebrities in Florence

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The best way to discover authentic places is to get carried away by Florence’s vicoli, wandering around one finds the best chances merely turning in the next corner. This is what happened with the Trattoria Coco Lezzone and with most of the places featured on this blog. Toni has been working in this family run restaurant for ten years. “David Rockefeller was here in 2014 – He was 99 year old at that time. He ordered pasta with white truffle and bistecca alla fiorentina. He ate a lot! Likewise Prince Charles of England was here, in 1986, invited by the marquises of Frescobaldi, the restaurant was closed for them and all their retinue,” says Toni. The photos hanging on the walls show these and other celebrities. “Every time Pavarotti visited Florence, he came to the trattoria and had bistecca alla fiorentina,” which by the way is prepared in a centuries-old wood-fired oven. “Queen Beatriz of Holland ate pasta with white truffle and tiramisu. According to her, it was one of the best she had ever tasted.” Serving diners since 1800, this restaurant also follows the tradition of Tuscan cuisine, consisting in preparing typical Florentine dishes with fresh seasonal products. Lampredotto, bollito con salsa verde, spezzatino con verza, coniglio alla cacciatoria
Trattoria Coco Lezzone – Via del Parioncino 26R

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Florence from above at Se·sto: exclusive ‘aperitivo’ with a view

Florence from above at Se·sto: exclusive ‘aperitivo’ with a view

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As E. M. Forster famous novel A Room With A View, the Se·sto restaurant and bar unique location on the rooftop floor at the luxury hotel The Westin Excelsior in Florence provides a scenic view over the Arno River to the whole city and the surrounding hills. In the kitchen, Chef Matteo Lorenzini has created a menu based on innovative Italian cuisine with an international touch. The proposals for lunch or dinner are Mediterranean dishes made with fresh seasonal products accompanied by a great variety of wines. Se·sto also offers a wide range of cocktails served on the terrace, where you can also enjoy an exclusive Italian aperitivo while looking at the sunset. The selection of music ranges from nu jazz to lounge emphasizing the outstanding ambiance.
Se·sto, The Westin Excelsior, Piazza Ognissanti 171, daily aperitif from 7 to 9 p.m. (€ 21). Walk-in policy, reservations not accepted

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La Cité: books, music, coffee and wine in the heart of San Frediano

La Cité: books, music, coffee and wine in the heart of San Frediano

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Books, art, wine and music. La Cité is defined as a polyvalent cultural space, responding to demands for the eclectic interacting of today. Since 2007, this two-storey café-bookshop of Borgo San Frediano (Oltrarno, Florence) has become a small cultural island, a city within the city itself. La Cité is just the antithesis of the classic bookstore-supermarket franchise and is described as a place of research and meeting, as well as a reading room, where cultural diversity and languages ​​are mixed. Their selection of texts is preferably of critical, independent and creative publications. Over the 5000 titles included in its catalogue one can find new and used books, newspapers and editorial oddities. Before sale browsing and reading books is allowed. In addition, each week, book presentations are organized with the presence of authors, critics, musicians and artists, as well as public debates on current affairs. Ideal spot for blind dates, too.
La Cité – Borgo San Frediano 20R, Florence. Open every day, from 9 to 2 a.m. On Sunday it opens at 3 p.m. – WIFI connection

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Arty cocktails at Antico Caffè del Moro in Florence

Arty cocktails at Antico Caffè del Moro in Florence

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Some venues of Florence became my favourites thanks to dating local guys. The Art Bar – Caffè degli Artisti – Antico Caffè del Moro is one of them. I believe locals are always the key to entering everyday life, anywhere. And, although those dates rarely succeeded, fortunately the places still endure. Despite usually crowded, it´s worth a visit just at Antico´s happy hour (6-9 p.m.), with fruit cocktails at 7 euros (10 euros after 9 p.m.). Customers range from American college students with their last generation iPhones, to gentlemen from the neighbourhood and residents in their early forties. Founded in 1926, it consists of a small room with ten round tables with candles, and the service (especially the girls) is charming. The buts? Cocktails sometimes look like fruit salads and the preparation of drinks takes its time.
Via del Moro 4 50123 Florence FI – open every day from 6:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. (Friday and Saturday until 2 p.m.)

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Santa Rosa Bistrot: outdoor & eco-friendly oasis in San Frediano

Santa Rosa Bistrot: outdoor & eco-friendly oasis in San Frediano

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“Eat, drink, feel good” is the motto of the Santa Rosa Bistrot, a charming cafe-bar-restaurant decorated with exquisite taste, offering an intimate and cosy atmosphere next to Porta San Frediano wall. Open since September 2016, this establishment stands in the plot that once belonged to the Mama nightclub, closed early in the year 2000 due to complaints of the neighbourhood. Its slogan “Green” relates to a healthy and light menu based on fish, vegetables and crostini. In its garden with picnic area there is a nursery of aromatic herbs used also to prepare cocktails. Santa Rosa Bistrot is crowded on weekends, especially at night, with endless queuing to order a drink or something to eat. A better idea is to go any day during the week in the afternoon.
Santa Rosa Bistrot is open from eight in the morning until midnight – live music

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Il Coccolo – Fritti i cornetti: traditional frying in the centre of Florence

Il Coccolo – Fritti i cornetti: traditional frying in the centre of Florence

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As a fine aesthete, the first thing that attracts my attention in an establishment is its appearance. However, I am not that fond of formal beauty, neither of the most sophisticated interior design. To me, there is also splendour in imperfection, ugliness, kitsch, trash or decadence, as in the shabby and the traditional. In this sense, and especially in the commercial field, the wrapping is also important. As I wander through the streets of Florence I love how some venues catch my absentminded attention. It´s works as a sensory impact, kind of a crush. This was the case with Il Coccolo, the only traditional Florentine frying premise in the historic centre, where there´s stuffed croissants to pleasure, fish and chips, and other delicatessen. Turns ideal to those who love fried food.
Il Coccolo – Fritti i cornetti – Via Matteo Palmieri, 30 / r – open until late at night

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