(Photo by Elena Farinelli)
I love the city, but sometimes I get tired sharing Florence with all of the crowds. That is when I am glad that I don’t live in the Center, so I get to experience living and eating in the real Florence, and not just the one that tourists see. If you’re here for a long stay like I am, or are just adventurous and looking for something different, here are a couple places where you can eat like a true Florentine.
One of my favorite Florentine restaurants (and I know of several locals who share my opinion) is Trattoria da Pietro in Piazza della Cure. It is the ultimate Italian family restaurant. The exceptionally friendly staff made me and my friends feel at home from the moment we walked in. We had a kind and helpful waitress who was very patient with our broken Italian. The great service makes the da Pietro dining experience one of the best in Florence. Our waitress even brought us complimentary glasses of champagne and small appetizers to start off our meal.
However, the food was good enough to stand alone. At Trattoria da Pietro they serve Tuscan home cooking at its best. I’ve also heard from locals that they make some of the best Florentine style, thin-crust pizzas in town. When I went I had stewed beef with grilled polenta, an excellent comfort dish, and my friends had various pastas. We all left full and happy without doing much damage to our wallets. My entrée was the most expensive at 10 euro for a hearty second course, but the pastas were all fairly cheap. A local also told me that they have a great, house white wine that is inexpensive, so you can get the complete Italian dinner experience without spending a fortune.
For a great pizza, hand made like in the past, you have to go to Pizzeria del Caffè Italiano (Via Isole delle Stinche). They serve just 3 kinds of pizzas but they are fantastic. You have to wait outside on line since Enzino, the pizzaman, is very famous and well known in Florence. The pizzeria is close to Caffè Italiano, one of the best restaurants in Florence.
Another inexpensive local classic is Pizzeria Spera up north on Via della Cernaia. They serve some of the best pizzas in Florence at the lowest prices. Spera is a local institution, so get there early (they open at 7 pm). The wait staff is good at fitting in as many people as they can, so don’t be surprised if you wind up sharing a table on busy nights. Don’t expect a long, lingering meal, but this is the perfect place to have a pizza and beer with friends. It’s also a great place for students like me to find a cheap, casual meal on the weekend. And if you don’t feel like braving the crowds you can always order one of their famous pizzas to go.
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