Twice a year dapper men and fashion victims descend upon Firenze for the menswear event of Pitti Uomo. But whether you are there for business or just there to try boost your Instagram follower count, trying to find out where local aficionados go to avoid the hordes of tourists can seem impossible. Fortunately, our chef friends behind underground Tuscan food sensation Barigaldi grew up there and know what they are talking about. Almost all of these spots have local heritage, few have websites and most are hidden away from the crowds so make sure to book in advance where you can :
Go to Trattoria Sostanza 'Troia' for an old fashioned white-table-cloth trattoria full of elegant casentino wool wearing old men instead of the oft-touted Cibrèo empire. Trattoria da Rocco for a rough and ready lunchtime spot inside Sant'Ambrogio market. Trattoria Coco Lezzone for an old fashioned trattoria focused on grilled meat. Trattoria da Mario for a bustling elbow to elbow lunch time trattoria with no frills and no reservations but long queues. Trattoria da Burde for an authentic lunchtime gem near the airport no tourist would know about. Buca Mario for bistecca fiorentina in the centro storico. Trattoria Sabatino for communal eating at an affordable working class institution.
For 'fast food' avoid the newly renovated food court upstairs at the Mercato Centrale and head downstairs to eat lampredotto and bollito paninos at Da Nerbone . Or Semel is a hole in the wall paninoteca open at lunchtimes in Sant'Ambrogio away from the tourists at competitors I Due Fratellini or All'Antico Vinaio. Firenze is renowned for it’s tripe sandwiches and the Sergio Pollini Lampredotto van is as authentic as it gets. But 'Ino is a more premium paninoteca near the Uffizi renowned for ultra high quality ingredients.
Outside of mealtimes, try the schiacciata alla fiorentina at Caffè Pasticceria Giorgio. Go to a Ditta Artigianale if you must have your specialty coffee or flat white with wifi. Gelateria Badiani makes the best gelato and is near the stadium and comes without the tourists of La Carraia, Dei Neri, Edoardo or Passera (the best of the bunch). Carabè does real Sicilian granita. Il Procopio is an excellent under the radar gelateria if you are central. If you can't escape the hordes, go to Rivoire for an espresso and a praline chocolate.
Caffé Sant'Ambrogio for a makeshift al fresco aperitivo in a small square or head to Piazza Santo Spirito for more action. Le Volpi e l’Uva for a traditional wine bar. Il Santino for a more hip wine bar. Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina for a more salubrious wine bar. Harry’s Bar is world famous but that postcard negroni is still worth it. Mad - Souls & Spirits if you need a hipster cocktail speakeasy. The Molo5 summer pop-up to escape the centro storico for outdoor sundowners on the banks of the arno with DJs and food trucks.
Castellana for a traditional ‘tabacchi’ tobacconist still holding out. Farmacia SS Annunziata for a stunning medieval pharmacy still purveying it's natural cosmetics and perfumes that is not the iconic Santa Maria Novella. Roberto Ugolino for a renowned bespoke shoemaker. Stefano Bemer for a luxury shoemaker where Daniel Day Lewis once worked. Frasi for classic menswear brimming with quality and local craft or head to the institution of Eredi Chiarini. Pineider for elegant stationary. Lorenzo Villoresi for unique perfumes and scents. Shibumi for a fine tie-maker and for accessories to pair with a Reunidas shirt. Sartoria Corcos for Japanese/Florentine bespoke tailor with a waiting list. Richard Ginori for exquisite porcelain. Scuola del Cuoio for leather craftsmen still working inside a monastery. Madova for leather gloves during the colder months. Enoteca Millesimi for a wine shop with extensive regional and international selections.