You may not hear me say it often, but there’s more to life than mixed drinks. I love mixing culture with my cocktails, especially in Italy. I’ve just been exploring the Florence cocktail scene and have some fresh tips for you. Between visits to the Uffizi or the Duomo, take one of these five different cocktail breaks infused with Italian culture.
Historical aperitivo culture at Caffè Gilli
Enjoy Florence’s most famous aperitivo, the negroni, at its oldest cafe, Caffe Gilli. This trendy bitter Italian cocktail has has a 100 year old pedigree that is steeped in Florentine legend and lore. Barman Luca Picchi, author of Negroni Cocktail. An Italian Legend, mixes them non stop in this establishment dating from the Medici era. He also serves a jellied negroni shot for a slightly different take on the drink.
Italian craft cocktail culture at Il Locale
This Florentine bar is a chic example of Italy’s embracing modern trends while remaining grounded in its rich history, even when it comes to cocktails. The basement of the building dates from the 1200s. An ancient kitchen, laundry and living quarters now serve as small privatizable dining rooms. The ground floor, once a renaissance palazzo, now houses a couple of swanky dining areas. The beautiful front room bar boasts a verdant vertical garden wall and retractable glass rooftop. Menus have original and interesting themes like a Italian hand gestures. And, cocktails can get creative – for example served within a sphere of ice which spills out once cracked into your glass.
Upscale cocktails at Four Seasons Florence
Slip seamlessly into a life of luxury and style at the Atrium bar of the Four Seasons Florence for a little posh pampering. Head bartender, Edoardo Sandri, seeks out unusual cocktail ingredients to surprise guests. And it’s not always the cocktails themselves that bring a bit of the unexpected but also the presentation. You might get a cocktail in custom glassware or even a long camera lenses (with a snapshot of you to complete the presentation). Of course, in this tasteful setting, you can also go with a classic choice: the negroni. They have an aged version as well as a tableside trolley for a customabilze negroni.
Italian beer, cocktails & cool music at Move On
This Italian pub and record shop combo on the touristy piazza San Giovanni has something for everyone: quality selection of domestic beer, cocktails, and one of Italy’s largest selections of vinyl for sale. Their musical soundtrack and the new, used and rare albums in the shop upstairs reflect an eclectic mix of groovy artists. Service is laid back and friendly. Plus there have outdoor seating on the piazza with a front and center view of the duomo.
Cocktails and Fashion at Gucci
Here’s a little secret about a soon-to-open and very fashionable way to enjoy cocktails in Florence. The flagship Gucci store not only has a beautiful shop, but a 2 floor art exhibition space. Currently they have curated an amazing multi-sensory experience that takes visitors through their campaigns. They also have a restaurant where they turn out dishes that look like art. And coming soon…a cocktail bar, which is sure to be as impressive as the rest!
If you love Italy, there’s more on the site from this Italian cocktail tour.