Salt & Wind Travel

5 Things to Do in Florence Italy For Food Lovers

Florence has a rich history steeped in Renaissance charm and bursting with cultural treasures like the Uffizi Gallery and the iconic David statue. But one of our travel clients’ favorite things to do is dive into the food, so we’re sharing 5 things to do in Florence Italy.

We’re talking about unique activities like making artisan gelato in its hometown, shopping at Pegna — one of the most historic gourmet food shops in Florence, and doing a cheese tasting with a view so you can dive into the local culture in the most delicious way! 

Table of Contents

What Food Is Florence, Italy Known For?

The classic food of Florence, Italy, is deeply rooted in its Tuscan identity as its hometown dishes like bistecca Fiorentina, gelato, and the Negroni. Tuscany is known worldwide for its cucina povera roots, meaning it has dishes that are humble in ingredients but big in flavor.

As such, Florence is an excellent place for food lovers. One cannot wander the streets and visit the key Florence, Italy, attractions without refueling in some of the world’s best restaurants, bars, and gelateries. Yet, many tourists come, see, do, and eat the same things in this marvelous city. It’s for good reason, of course; the main sites and restaurants are famous for a reason. 

Being a food lover myself and having lived in Florence for over a decade, I spent a lot of time doing all sorts of meals, tastings, and other fun food activities in the city. And now that I help our clients with custom Italy Travel Planning, I get to share many of these top things to do in Florence for food lovers with them!

Five Top Things To Do In Florence Italy For Food Lovers

If you’re a food-focused traveler wanting to get a taste of Florence, you’ll want to do at least one of these things while visiting. Suppose you are looking for something to compliment the usually missed tourist stops but also love Italian food, experimenting with the unusual when traveling, and sampling the best of the best.

In that case, you won’t miss this list of the five best foodie things to do in Florence, Italy. All of these activities are things you can do in the city center. It’s one of the best ways to understand this beloved city while skipping the long lines at the main sights during the high season. 

With this list of five things to do in Florence, Italy, for food lovers, I invite you to my Florence. The place where I lived for 12 years and organized countless tours, trips, and dinners. I shared these foodie delights with fellow travelers, friends, family, and those looking to dig into Florentine food culture. So, if that sounds like you, read on and prepare for your life’s tastiest trip.

How to find the best gelato in Italy

Artisan Gelato Making Adventure

Delve into the sweet world of gelato at a historic family-owned gelato shop near Santa Maria del Fiore, which has been open since 1939. Besides heading here to scope out some unique flavors, did you know you can also take a gelato-making class in their family-run business kitchen? From learning about sourcing the ingredients to turning them into gelato, going on this guided tour is sweet (pun intended). You will also meet the lovely family making gelato here for nearly a century. By the time you’re done, you’ll be part of the crew, and they will be welcoming you into their bella famiglia.

Perche no? Via Dei Tavolini 19R.
Book via their Facebook page or email at

Cooking Class in an Iconic Italian Showroom

For an extraordinary culinary experience, join a cooking class at Riccardo Barthel’s Desinare in Via Serragli. This showroom-cum-cooking school, known for its stunning designs, offers a unique setting for learning Italian cooking techniques. Cooking classes abound in Florence, from private kitchens to proper cooking schools. Still, none is more evocative than the Riccardo Barthel showroom “Desinare” in Via Serragli in Oltrarno (the side of the bridge where many tourists never visit but should). 

Riccardo Barthel made a name for himself for his stunning bathroom and kitchen remodels, where he combines vintage and modern pieces to create truly unique and one-of-a-kind designs. His signature design touch can be found in hotels, private residences, and restaurants throughout Tuscany. 

In Florence, he went for something unique and turned his showroom into a combo of the dreamest kitchen and cooking school. They offer events throughout the year and also group private lessons. This is a cooking experience like no other you will find in Florence. Make a day of it by combining it with a stroll around the Boboli Gardens and Pitti Palace, and you’ll see it was well worth the walk into the Oltrarno neighborhood to experience it all. 

Desinare, Via dei Serragli, 234R
Book at: Desinare Cooking School

Cheese Tasting Extravaganza at Formaggioteca Terroir

Embark on a cheese journey at Formaggioteca, near Piazzale Michelangelo. These cheese experts do not disappoint. It is the perfect stop for your adventure. It is located at the base of the hill that leads up to Piazzale Michelangelo, just across the river from Santa Croce. You can enjoy a cheese sampling on-site or ask for a picnic, just right for camping out at the steps of the Piazzale, to the rose garden (when it’s open), or the lesser-visited but equally lovely San Miniato al Monte church and watching the sunset. Here, you can also sample wines with your cheese and learn about cheese and wine pairing (is there anything better?), plus get cheeses vacuum sealed to save for later.

Formaggioteca, Via dei Renai, 19
Learn more: Formaggioteca Terroir Experiences

Do A DIY Lampredotto Tour

Dive into Florence’s street food culture with a DIY Lampredotto tour. This unique delicacy, a Tuscan specialty made from cow stomach, is a must-try. Lampredotto is a classic Tuscan food specialty, and a true food lover can’t leave Florence without trying it. Most people who try it love it but often don’t know what it is. Lampredotto is made from a cow’s fourth and final stomach, which is then boiled in a savory broth until tender, then seasoned and topped with salt and pepper or the classic herby green sauce known as salsa verde. It’s then cut and put into a bun (panino) and served hot. 

This is the ultimate street food of Florence and is served everywhere, from the Mercato Centrale to food trucks to food stalls and actual panino shops. So, to be a real Tuscan cuisine connoisseur, consider doing a DIY lampredotto tour. My favorite is Sergio Pollini Lampredotto in the Sant’Ambrogio neighborhood, so I’d suggest starting there and then eating through some other panino shops like Da Nerbone, L’Antico Trippaio, and Trippaio del Porcellino.
Sergio Pollini Lampredotto, Via dei Macci, 126

Discover Artisan Foods at Pegna Gourmet Grocery

Visit Pegna, a historic grocery store dating back to 1860, for an array of gourmet delights. Located near the Piazza del Duomo, this store offers a selection of meats, cheeses, and ready-to-eat dishes, perfect for a quick, delicious meal.

Pegna is a Florentine staple and one of the best places to shop as a food lover. This grocery store, in business since 1860, is a place that every local knows well, and for good reason. They have been synonymous with gourmet meat, cheese, and ready-made dishes since they opened their doors just a short walk from the Piazza del Duomo, where you’ll find Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. We suggest visiting to browse and let your taste buds guide you. 

It’s the perfect spot to get adventurous, trying some of their ready-to-eat options, unique cold cuts (go for the coppa di testa if you’re adventurous), and fresh and aged cheeses. It’s the perfect spot to find an easy dinner to eat on your hotel balcony or take back to your Airbnb. And the location is worth visiting just for the outstanding architecture. This historic grocery store is located inside an old monastery from the 1600s.
Pegna, Via dello Studio, 26R

Unique Culinary Adventures In Florence

These are just a few things you can DIY as a food lover in Florence. If you contact us, we can help book a mix of fun things, from a wine tasting with a sommelier or an exploration of the best things at a local market with a tour guide to a walking tour where you try the best street foods in the city. Apart from these five experiences, we offer a range of personalized culinary tours and activities.

From wine tastings with expert sommeliers to guided market tours, we can arrange unique experiences like cooking with renowned chefs in picturesque villages, olive oil tastings, and exploring local wines. Many of our Florence-bound travel clients like to have us arrange a unique day trip to a nearby town to cook with a renowned cookbook author, taste olive oil in the orchards, or sip hyperlocal wine like the Vernaccia from San Gimignano.

What Is Florence, Italy Famous For?

Florence, Italy, is famous for being the center of the Italian Renaissance and home to serious history from the Medici family to Michelangelo and Dante. From the famous Renaissance art museum, the Uffizi Gallery, to the iconic David statue in the Galleria dell’Accademia, you could spend a lifetime just exploring the city’s artistic heritage alone. Strolling the streets in the historic center of Florence, you can’t help but adore the architecture, marvel at the giant Dome by Brunelleschi at the Florence Cathedral, pause at the nearly 700-year-old bridge, Ponte Vecchio, and admire the Palazzo Vecchio with its neighboring open-air museum, the Loggia dei Lanzi. 

In more modern times, it has been home to fashion houses like Gucci, Pucci, Cavalli, and Ferragamo. As a result, shopping is one of a kind in Florence, whether outside at the San Lorenzo Market, hitting the leather goods near Santa Croce, or buying souvenirs along the medieval streets. It’s a place where somehow both modern and ancient march hand in hand, twisting along the banks of the Arno River and down through the countryside to other cities like Pisa and Siena. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Food lovers in Florence should explore the city's rich culinary scene by joining food tours, doing progressive dinners, seeing the wine windows, visiting local markets, trying traditional Tuscan dishes in authentic trattorias, and experiencing wine tastings, especially in the nearby Chianti region.

For street food in Florence, visit areas like the food halls or food stalls around the popular city center. Must-try street foods include Lampredotto (a Florentine tripe sandwich), Cecina (a chickpea pancake), Frittelle di Riso (rice croquettes), Schiacciata (Tuscan flatbread), and gelato from artisanal gelaterias.

Unique food experiences in Florence include progressive dinners where you can try classic foods, hands-on cooking classes where you can learn to make traditional Tuscany dishes, olive oil tastings, wine tastings, gelato making, cheese tastings, and doing a street food tour.

Get To Know Chianti Wine

Classic Day Trips From Florence

Consider extending your culinary exploration with day trips to nearby Tuscan towns, offering their unique flavors and experiences. Some classic day trips from Florence include visits to Greve in Chianti, Monteriggioni, San Gimignano, Siena, Lucca, and Viareggio. Each town offers a unique perspective on Tuscany and its rich history, culture, and beauty. 

Have Us Plan Your Florence, Italy, Trip

Intrigued? This is just the beginning of what we have up our food-loving sleeve. For a seamless and bespoke culinary journey in Florence, contact us at Salt and Wind Travel. Our insider knowledge and passion for Italian cuisine will ensure your trip is as delicious as it is memorable.

Photo Credit: Opening photo by T photography; Lampredotto Cart by David A Litman

Travel Planning Resources

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to our privacy policy.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


We'll help you taste Italy Mexico California Hawaii Mexico France Spain the world

We specialize in food-focused experiences in the most interesting culinary regions of the world.

We host unique small group trips to California, Italy, and Mexico from Sicily to Oaxaca.

Our tailored-to-you trip planning services help you make the most of your trip.