Tell people you’re traveling to Florence in August and likely you’ll be met with a look reflecting sympathetic derision “oh, you’re staying here, huh?” one might say. For a bewildered foreigner, not accustomed to the traditions of life in southern Europe, this is because August has long been dubbed more or less “vacation month.” Its roots dating back to a time when it truly was too hot to work, with Italian families taking cool refuge in nearby coastal towns. This was when properties were affordable, resulting in many Italian families owning a second home “al mare”. There are plenty of locals who’s idea of holiday means driving only an hour and a half away, my own ex-boyfriend’s family scoffed at traveling anywhere outside of Tuscany, much less Europe. Naturally the exodus of people to the popular coast results in pricier beach clubs reserved long in advance, any free section covered in a sea of speedos and bright towels, it can sort of resemble a steamy human soup, not my idea of satisfying consumption.
Nowadays, not all have the privilege of taking the month off. As you likely already know crappy temporary work contracts and the rise of the forced freelancer have done their damage in assuring that many young people have yet to see anything close to a paid holiday. Though people seem to make it work, the art of ‘Arrangiarsi or the ability to “arrange oneself” is all about overcoming obstacles and Italians are fabulous at this. However, you will see a drop in actual Italians in the city of Florence in just a week if not already. The city can overcome a sort of strange twilight zone — for residents this means that parking spaces aplenty, hat-wearing tourists filling its windy, picturesque corners which have suddenly become a whole lot more quiet.
Many shops and restaurants traditionally close during this period (a bewildering fact to me considering the massive amounts of revenue lost during this period) but luckily, many have widened up to the fact that staying behind isn’t so bad after all. Though you will find the week surround Ferragosto (August 15th is a national holiday) tends to be when the city truly empties.
Nico and I have decided to vacation in Normandy/Brittany this September instead, we already embarked on a fun road trip in the Czech Republic this past June. Truth be told, these days, I’m all about embracing the concept of “dolce far niente” / the sweetness of doing nothing at all, well.. when we aren’t working. I learned after stretching myself thin last year planning our wedding and saying yes to far too many projects, that I needed to scale back a bit.
In case I frightened any last-minute traveler from visiting Florence at the moment, if you’re down with humidity, rest assured, there will still be plenty to do. In Fact, come August first, keep an eye out for my monthly event’s list which includes cool places to refuge when the heat gets to your brain (and mine).
In honor of helping us all enjoy summer in Florence, here are a list of restaurants, divided by neighborhood, open during this period that I actually like, Nico and I called many of them personally this week or sent emails to get the inside scoop on hours, so let’s hope they stay true to their word. If you want to save everything to your phone, you will find a handy google map and a few links to like-minded posts across Italy. If you prefer to hold a piece of paper, click on the green share button on the top and bottom of each post and search through the options for the “Print-friendly” option where you can print this post for your trip.
Also check out these guys:
- Where to eat in Rome this August by Katie Parla.
- Romewise typically comes out with a list in August so stay tuned.
- Lighter summer eats in Florence by the Curious Appetite
Piazza della Repubblica/Piazza Signoria Area
- Irene Firenze, this classy, contemporary bistrot is always one of the top choices on my lists for lunch or dinner in the central hub of the city. First off, for the seasonal and fresh menu conjured up by culinary greats Fulvio Pierangelini and Giovanni Cosmai, but also because they make a damn good cocktail. Go for the amberjack tuna crudo on a bed of himalayan salt. Open on the daily for both lunch, dinner and in-between. Piazza della Repubblica, 7, 50123 Firenze. Reservations, Phone: 055 273 5891.
- Serre Torrigiani in Piazzetta, Florence’s newest urban garden lies in perfect juxtaposition with the city’s cultural monuments. A vibrant free courtyard, just steps away from Orsanmichele church and museum. You’ll spot wooden signs that invite you to step down a tiny little street, barely wider than a breath. Here you’ll discover outdoor tables, a wooden food stand serving fresh options for lunch (panini, salads, rosè wine). It feels a world away from the busy streets heaving with group tours just beside. They also offer free WiFi. Open all of August, 10am-midnight. Address: Piazza dei tre re. Check out their August events/readings too!
- Briscola, a trendy pizzeria that looks almost like a cafeteria but is essentially a hotspot for Italian youngsters. Their pizza is more than satisfying, plus a stone’s throw from piazza della repubblica. Open daily, 12-3pm, 7-11pm. address: Via del Campidoglio, 8 R, 50123 Firenze. Phone +39 055 238 1990.
- La Bussola, a contemporary bistro in the heart of the city, they are known for their pizza and various arrays of Italian favorites. I love the atmosphere as did my family when they were in town. Though service can be hit or miss. They are open all of August. Open daily 12-3:30pm, 6-11pm. address: Via Porta Rossa, 58r, 50123 Firenze. Call +39 055 293376.
- Buca Lapi, tucked away close to the Duomo or “queen” of this city, people head to this true Tuscan elegant spot, apparently the oldest restaurant in town, for their famous Florentine steak. I gave them a call and they are open only the first week and the last week of August, so make your reservations in advance. address: Via del Trebbio, 1r, 50123 Firenze. Call +39 055213768. Open Monday-Saturday 7-10:30pm.
Oltrarno neighborhood, from Pitti Palace to San Frediano.
- Il Santo Bevitore, this popular spot located on via di santo spirito features an ever-changing menu that treats Tuscna food like its creative inspiration. I always go for their interesting cheese plates. It’s almost always crowded so recommendations are highly recommended. They are only open in August from the first to the 12th, and after the 22nd, they are closed from August 13-21. Their local bakery, S.Forno (via santa monaca) instead will only be open in the morning August 1-12th. Open 12-2:30, 7:30-11:30pm. Via di Santo Spirito, 64/66, reservations: tel +39 055 211264. email@example.com, website.
- Enoteca Pitti Gola, when it comes to quality wine bars in the city, this is my absolute favorite. They don’t need to shout their greatness from Florence’s rooftops, they have a pretty respected following who already knows them. You can come for a drink (I love their Franciacorta options, they seek out smaller producers) or for dinner. Reservations highly recommended as they only have seven tables. Outside seating also available.
- Gelateria della Passera –I could hardly leave out my gelato local, this small place has served its fair amount of gelato and is the brilliant brainchild of a woman, One Miss Cinzia Otri. I love that she uses coffee from the next door caffe degli artigiani and my favorite flavor of all time here has to be the la Crema ai sette profumi (creme of seven flavors) which is my go-to gusto after dinner. address: via dello Sprone 16, Firenze
- Le Volpe e L’Uva, another favorite wine bar hidden behind Ponte Vecchio, the oldest bridge in the city, in a quaint little square on the Oltrarno side of town. Ciro and the rest of the staff are very knowledgeable about wines and openly support local, small producers. The terrace does get popular the summer so call and book ahead. Open all of August, 11am-9pm, everyday but Sunday. address: Piazza dei Rossi, 1R, 50125 Firenze FI. Call +39 055 2398132.
- L’Brindellone, my go-to spot for authentic Tuscan eats did me a huge favor and decided to remain open for the month. While the decor is decidedly “no frills” this spot is wonderful for larger groups who want to dive into some local cuisine while not breaking the bank. I’m a fan of their tagliata and ribollita (a typical Tuscan dish). They are also open for lunch with a cheap (10€ menu). Open all of August, Tue – Sun from 12:30-2:30pm. 7:30 – 11pm. address: Piazza Piattellina, 10, 50124 Firenze. Phone +39 055 217879.
- Il Carduccio, my favorite new organic restaurant for lunch is constantly impressing. The space, however small, is quite pretty, with just a few tables offering curious diners the chance to try some farm-to-table organic goodies from a local farm. Everything is seasonal and fresh, I had the best mango gazpacho there recently, also try their cheese plate. The perfect place for someone who wants lighter options. They source from a place in the countryside and everything I tried was just marvelous. Closed in August from the 10th to the 23rd. address: Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti, 10, 50125 Firenze. +39 055 238 2070. Open 8am-8pm.
- Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino Ristorante, just around the corner from our house is the cutest piazza in the city, it’s not just me being biased, you’d be hard pressed to meet anyone who doesn’t smile when they think of piazza della passera (for a variety of reasons). When it comes to authentic Tuscan food, this is your spot, don’t be scared to go for offal! The polpette di lampredotto are what they are known best for. Open daily 12-3pm, 7:30-11pm. Piazza della Passera, 2-3, 50125 Firenze, For reservations phone: 055 215969.
- Culinaria De Gustibus Bistro, as I’ve said a million times before, the area around piazza tasso is a real gold mine. Not just for the location of one of the hottest boutique hotels in the city, but for its authentic neighborhood. Where you see bonafide Italians actually live, work and play –in the same area as some of my favorite restaurants. This place is the brain child of the de-gustibus gourmet brand, they adhere to the slow food Italy philosophy and work hard to source local products (like cheese and wine, mix it up with Mediterranean flair. You can also try hard to find items like Moroccan tajines (go for the lemon version). Call in advance as space is limited. Open 12-2:30pm, 6:30-11pm. Closed Sundays. address: Piazza Torquato Tasso, 13 R, 50124 Firenze, Italy , call +39 055 229494.
- Al Tranvai, a tiny little family-run rustic trattoria in the heart of piazza tasso, one of the few remaining authentic districts in the historical center. NO-frills yet always satisfying, order the penne alla chiantigiana. You’ll find hearty Tuscan treats here. Open Tues-Sat 12:15-2:30pm, 7:10-10:45pm. Sundays closed, Monday open 7:10-10:45pm. address: Piazza Torquato Tasso, 14r, 50124 Firenze. Call +39 055 225197.
- Enoteca Le Barrique. A romantic restaurant with a hidden courtyard in Florence’s San Frediano neighborhood. They serve fresh and contemporary options (I adore their duck) and excellent wines, just ask for tips! They are only open the first and last week of August. Closed Mondays, otherwise open 12-2:30pm, 7:30-11:30pm. address: Via del Leone, 40r, 50123, Florence, Italy, Call +39 055 224192.
- La Sorbettiera, look on any credible list of top gelateria of Florence and you’ll find them on their list. Not because they paid anyone off, but because their gelato truly is some of the best you can get in Tuscany. I was personally won over by their salted caramel. They are open all of August except the 15th/16th. Open 12:30pm-12am. Sunday: 11AM–1PM, 3PM–12AM. address: Piazza Torquato Tasso, 11/red, 50124 Firenze
- Alla Vecchia Bettola, you’d think I was obsessed with piazza tasso, but you would be right. I adore this humble quarter, a place so rich in great food and still not truly discovered. Alla Vecchia Bettola is a popular spot across the square, they offer terrace seating and a Tuscan menu. If you’re into pork, try their version served with figs. They are closed for the week of Ferragosto (the 15th). Otherwise open Tues-Sat, 12-2:30pm, 7-10:30pm. address: 34r Via Luigi Ariosto, 50124, Florence, Italy. Call +39
- Vivanda, a small organic restaurant close to piazza di santo spirito and piazza carmine, I often come here for the healthy lunch menu, a steal at 10€. They offer options for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets. They will be closed in August from the 14th to the 21st. Otherwise open Mon-Saturday 12-3pm, 6pm – 12am. address: Via Santa Monaca, 7, 50124 Firenze. Phone: +39 055 238 1208
- Ristorante Trattoria Angiolino, an Oltrarno trattoria that serves delicious home cooking in my local neighborhood. I like the atmosphere and the fact that they can accomodate bigger groups. Open all of August. Open daily 12:30-3:30pm, 7-11pm. address: Via di Santo Spirito, 36 R, Firenze. Phone: +39 055 239 8976
- Berbere, a contemporary pizza and beer bistro close to piazza carmine. I would consider it less pizza and more “flatbread”, but I do enjoy the place and they have some interesting craft beers on tap. Perhaps closed on August 15th. Monday-Thur’s 7pm-12am. Fri-Sun 12:30-2:30pm, 7:30-12am. Call ahead. address: Piazza de’ Nerli, 1, 50124 Firenze. Phone: +39 055 238 2946
- Ditta Artigianale, coffee bar enthusiasts like myself are pleased to note that yes your caffeine is safe this August. Both Ditta’s will remain open which means my supply of cold brew with coconut milk can continue. Open 8-12am, on weekends they open at 9am. Praise jesus. address: Via dello Sprone, 3/5/R, 50125 Firenze.
- Club Culinario Toscana da Osvaldo, in Santa Croce, you’d expect the only things to be open are mediocre aperitivo joints and dubious restaurants. Luckily Club Culinario is staying open. Go for their cacioricotta cheese. Open 12-3pm, 6-12:30am. Piazza dei Peruzzi, 3R, 50122 Firenze
- Ditta Artigianale, yes this is the original location of Francesco Sanape’s brilliant cafe. Located on a constantly busy street in the heart of the historical center. You an also enjoy the free WIFI here too. Via dei Neri, 32/R, 50122 Firenze.
- Torcicoda, one part restaurant, pizzeria and trattoria, it can seem like they’re a tad confused or perhaps trying to bank on being “it all.” However, I am a huge fan of their pizza and luckily for you guys (and well.. me too) it happens to be open all of August. Monday closed, every other day 12-3pm, 7-11pm. address: Via Torta, 5/red, 50122 Firenze. Call +39 055 2654329.
- Arà è SUD, where you can find a corner of Sicily in the center of Renaissance Florence. They provide a nice offering of Southern Italian treats (pasta alla norma) and Sicilian wines in a cute location near Santa Croce, close to Verde theater. This August they will be closed from the 8th to the 16th, otherwise open 12-11pm, closed Tuesdays. Address: Via della Vigna Vecchia, 4, 50122 Firenze. Call +39 328 611 7029.
- The Fishing Lab Alle Murate, a place that was a hit before it even opened, probably because of their adept use at social media (I mean an active google plus page, really??). This new spot is in one of the coolest locations in town near Santa Croce. The best part, besides the food, is that you will dine with historical frescoes and over Roman ruins. What I like about this place is the half-portion options which means you can try more, plus it’s the kind of place that you can come at 4pm and order a meal. Try the frittura. address: Via del Proconsolo, 16r, 50122 Firenze. Call +39 055 240618. Open daily, 10am-12am.
- Il Locale, a fancier option in the Santa Croce neighborhood, here you can get a drink or dine in a building that dates back to the 1200’s “Palazzo Tornaquinci”, truly a spectacular location that trespasses centuries of history in Florence. Their cocktails are some of the best in town. They also offer valet service for customers. Opens at 7pm. address: Via delle Seggiole, 12. Call +39 0559067188.
- Acquacotta, I discovered this place during a failed attempt to eat at the overrated La Giostra restaurant nearby. Thankfully we tried it out because it remains a favorite of mine to this day. Simple Tuscan food with a little twist, I like the comely atmosphere and decent prices. Highly recommend the pigeon (yes I said pigeon) and don’t leave without trying dessert. address: Via dei Pilastri, 51-R, 50121 Firenze. Closed Mondays, Open 12:30-11pm. Call +39 055 242907.
Santa Maria Novella
- Été Bistrò is a charming little spot on the buzzing via faenza, a stone’s throw from the Santa Maria Novella train station. This is one of my go-to spots for organic veggies and the cute atmosphere. They also offer gluten-free options. Perfect for just coffee and WiFi too. Closed from August 11 to the 19th. Otherwise open 12-11pm. address: via faenza 55r.
- Braciere Malatesta, a newly-refurbished bar and grill on via nazionale 36r is open all of august and is one of the cutest newcomers in town. They manage to combine a modern design with traditional Tuscan cuisine. Here you’ll find fresh pasta, pizza, vegetarian options and grilled meats. Book a spot in the open courtyard. Open 12-10:30pm. Call +39 055 215164.
- Trattoria 13 gobbi, I consider this spot to be a real find even if you’ll find yourself dining amongst other tourists. Which honestly, people should really get used to as places like this are popular for good reason. I come here for the steak “tagliata.” Open all of August. 12-3pm, 7-11pm. Via del Porcellana, 9R, Firenze, Call +39 055 284015
- Vivo Restaurant, The city’s hottest new seafood restaurant promises a daily catch from the Tuscan coast (Orbetello), here you can slurp (or scoop) out fresh oysters, dine on raw red shrimp or ask for the pasta dish of the day. I’m a huge fan, while the place itself tends to be a bit modern for my tastes with a very noisy interior, the food more than makes up for the rest. Open August, except Ferragosto. Open 12-2:30pm, 7:30-11pm. address: Largo Pietro Annigoni, 9. Call +39 333 182 4183.
- Gilda Bistrot in piazza ghiberti, the heart of Sant’Ambrogio is one of my favorite places to take people. It’s very much like eating in someone’s quirky living room, the tables covered in lace, the colorful cups more like goblets. They are closed from August 13th to the 21st. Otherwise open Mon-Sat 12-3pm, 7-11pm. address: Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 40-red, 50122 Firenze. Call 055 234 3885
- La Luna pizzeria, just talking about this place makes me smile. While the pizza isn’t the best in town, you have Santarpia to thank for that, they do serve a decent pie and offer gluten-free options. Perfect for a casual night-out with friends. address: Via Gioberti Vincenzo, 93, Firenze, reservations, call +39 055 663810. Open 12-3pm, 7-12am.
San Lorenzo neighborhood
- Mercato San Lorenzo: “Primo Piano” the good thing about the market is that it never closes, at least not the primo piano. In San Lorenzo, it has been nothing short of a success story, a gourmet Italian food market which Eataly over on via martelli couldn’t seem to manage to do. Despite the weird temperature balance inside (hot in summer, cold in winter) and crowds, it still remains a place that isn’t just wheelchair accessible, but literally has something for everyone. Pizza, fresh pasta, seafood, meat plates, cheese, vegan burgers, lampredotto, wine bar, gelato etc. Open 10am-1pm daily. address. Via dell’Ariento.
- La Ménagère, one part restaurant, one part bar, one part cafe with free WIFI, one part flower shop, one part jazz club. Yes a lot happens simultaneously in this cool concept spot in San Lorenzo but you won’t find a more instagrammable location in Florence. I like the desserts here too. address: Via de’ Ginori, 8, 50123 Firenze. Open 7am-2am.
- My Sugar geleteria, yes gelato is officially a food group and I could hardly write about what’s open in August without mentioning the majority of my diet during this period, sweet Italian gelato. Owners Alberto Bati and sister Deborah are some of the most passionate, hard-working gelato artisans you’ll ever meet. Wonderful sorbet (get the melon!) options as well. Open 1pm-10:30pm. address: Via de’Ginori, 49/red, 50123 Firenze, Phone: 393 069 6042.
San Niccolo neighborhood
- Beppe Fioraia, one of the few places where you can dine al fresco in a pretty garden in the center of Florence. It’s just off the main road that runs from San Niccolo to Piazzale Michelangelo, you’ll find Beppe tucked away in the entrance to a local park. They are well-known for their enormous tagliere (meat & cheese boards) and pizza. Call ahead to book a spot in the garden, reservations essential. Closed from August 14th to the 20th. address: Via dell’Erta Canina, 6r, 50125 Firenze. 12:30 – 2:30, 7:30pm-12am daily. Call +39 055 234 7681.
- Gecko Florence Bar & Grill, a friendly International bistro with a fresh contemporary decor, in the San Niccolo area of town. I like this place both for an ice coffee or a nice cocktail. They also have interesting bbq options and a good burger. Apparently they also serve brunch. address: Via dei Renai, 11r, 50125 Firenze. Open daily 12pm-12am, call +39 055 906 4110
Just outside of Florence (but still worthy of a taxi)
- Trattoria “da Burde”, When one thinks of sticking to traditions when it comes to Tuscan food, likely they have visiteda place just outside of Florence — Da Burde, the brainchild of Andrea and Paolo Gori. A culinary institution since 1901, here you can dig into mouth-watering dishes like bistecca alla fiorentina, il peposo, il cacciucco, il baccalà alla livornese, l’acquacotta alla maremmana and much more. address: Via Pistoiese, 6/R, 50145 Firenze. +39 Tel. 055/317206. Open for lunch and dinner on weekdays, Saturday lunch only, Closed Sundays.
- Ristorante 588 at Borgo i Vicelli, this recent find an easy 25 minute drive from Florence in the comune di Bagno a Ripoli made me a very happy woman. An outside eatery set in the backdrop of a quaint Tuscan agriturismo, we dined poolside, enjoying an array of farm-to-table delights. This is the kind of place that doesn’t make you wear flow tops to hide bloat, Chef Andrea’s menu was light and memorable — imagine an array of vegetables with a soft tomato broth, or the most perfect had-moon ravioli stuffed with fresh mozzarella cheese and topped with a basil leaf so fragrant Bocelli would have teared up. All teamed with interesting extra-virgin olive oils, just ask! My advice is to call ahead as they often host weddings and events here. address: Via Roma, 588 – 50012 Bagno a Ripoli, , Tel: +39 055 699003.