As a lover of Italian food culture and ritual, the Italian happy hour aperitivo is quite possibly my favorite past-time in Italy. I even lead a food tour in Florence just for Aperitivo. (It’s also been recommended by Lonely Planet and Conde Nast Traveler)

This is a handy guide to my on-going recommendations for where to get Aperitivo in Florence as well as articles I’ve written related to aperitivo and cocktails in Florence. (Check back often- this list is a constant work in progress!)

What is Italian aperitivo? Some compare Aperitivo to happy hour- it is not just one hour and there are not discounted drinks and food. In sum, its the ritual of having a snack and an appetite stimulating drink (negroni, vermouth, spritz, etc) or light alcoholic drink (prosecco, light wine, beer) before the events of a meal are about to ensue.

Over time, this food & drink ritual has evolved to be “aperi-cena/dinner”, big buffets of food with watered down mixed drinks which sweetly stun appetite rather than stimulate. In some ways, aperitivo is loosing the essence of what this ritual was intended to be with the aperitivo bars with cafeteria-like mounds of leftovers and stale food that belongs in a science project.

lardo crostini sipped with spumante franciacorta and truffle panini at Le Volpi e L'Uva
lardo crostini sipped with spumante franciacorta and truffle panini at Le Volpi e L’Uva

Why is Aperitivo so important? Aperitivo is an important social activity. There is something electric about the social energy you find in neighborhood bars around Italy at aperitivo time. I value the spend time we have with each other and the importance of forming strong bonds over breaking bread together. I feel that food & drink is one of these social glues which keeps us at the core of the human experience.

I could go on and on about how beautiful culinary rituals are! But what makes aperitivo special is that it is a casual social medium that is less intimate than dinner but still a great way to socialize. With the more we isolate ourselves with technologies and vanity projects, aperitivo is one of those few acts left that retain our social humanity. Perhaps I am being dramatic about this, but I am a romantic at heart.

Where to get Aperitivo in Florence 

Let me start by explaining that not all of my suggestions will have the massive “aperitivo” buffet service. This list will focus on quality-minded and local-loved establishments who offer or sell small bites along with drinks. Unless you’re a student or on a tight budget, bite I think its worth the few extra euros for quality.

Yes, you may pay the same or even more for a smaller portion but you’ll be rewarded with drastically improved quality. Thank you for coming to my TedTalk

Where to get Aperitivo in Florence? Let’s start by neighborhood:

Not for the faint of fancy pants 🍸#worldsbestbars

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Caffe’ Sant’Ambrogio- Stick to the chips and peanuts or charcuterie and revel in the fine candy shop that is their wine list. They have a sneaky good selection of Champers (champagne) and are popular for Martinis. This is one of those places where you are here for the locals and the quality of the drinks, and consistent service. The bar itself is dark but they have tables outside. Wear some mosquito spray though during the summer if you’re like me and mosquitos love you. (in piazza sant’ambrogio)

Il Locale- Mega swanky former Medici palace turned fancy bar and restaurant with big city energy- cocktails are wild, craft and creative and chef prepares snack towers with class during Aperitivo.

Rex- Funky vintage accoutered bar with an eclectic selection of craft cocktails and DJ sets and live music late night. I like the bar snacks you can order to accompany your drink (butter and anchovy mini-toasts mostly) Address: Via Fiesolana, 25r (note Aug 2022: not sure if still open?)

Caffe Fiorentino (closed!!!!)– This is kind of a dive bar but it is authentic. It may not fit my bill of high quality but it does in what Italy is. This is what an Italian bar is like, especially outside touristic centers of cities like Florence, and is beautifully still stuck in the 80’s. Dirt cheap drinks, salty snacks, games and cozy seating. (This closed and I’m so sad, but leaving it up for nostalgia’s sake)

Quelo- Artsy option for vegan/vegetarians and for those who want a raw pressed juice cocktail to off-set the toxic effects of alcohol. They don’t have an official cocktail list, but just tell them what kind of fruits and flavors you like and they’ll customize.

Fermino- decent wines by the glass, reliable Negronis and little crostini bites priced by the slice. Ideal location, super artsy and full of locals

truffle and porcini crostone and bubbles at Fuori Porta


Fuoriporta Enoteca- A wine bar restaurant open all day with non-stop hours. Small, thoughtful wine selection and if they have sparkling Durello on the menu- order it instead of prosecco. Nosh with one of their lavish crostone. Address: Via del Monte alle Croci, 10/R


Procacci- Truffle sandwiches and bubbles. Need I say more? Small shop, come early. Address: Via de’ Tornabuoni, 64r

Rivoire- Said to be one of the original locations (along with Cafe Casoni) where the Negroni was 1st served. You gotta have a Negroni in one of the places where it was first served!  Address: Piazza della Repubblica

Manifattura- a true, nostalgic homage to Italian cocktail and drink culture- 100% made in Italy. Vintage bitters, vermouth and amari plus fresh fruit preparations for seasonal fruit and prosecco drinks like bellini. Dry snacks only. Address: Piazza di S. Pancrazio, 1

Enoteca Bellini- I love this wine bar and feels like a traveler’s lounge. This enoteca is tended by a wonderful woman named Camilla and is family-run. She has great taste and selects unique wines which are always being switched up, and the snacks she makes are divine too. If you love butter and anchovies- you must go to Enoteca Bellini- best toasts in town. Address: Via della Spada, 52

Santa Cocktail Club- Get a seat at the swanky bar or on the patio and order a craft cocktail or glass and they’ll bring a few thoughtful canapé bites. Gluten-free options, too! A bit on the pricy side, but once in a while drinking classy smack dab in a historical square is worth it. (In piazza santa maria novella)

All you need is ❤Negroni #Florence @irene_firenze

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Fiaschetteria Nuvoli- I’ve had plenty of interesting evenings here with countless crostini (truffle, fegatino, sausage, etc) accompanied by legit glasses of wine both in the small bar area upstairs and the underground cellar/seating area below. Great snack bar for afternoon or evening aperitivo. Very rustic, wood-finished typical Tuscan soulful/local hang-out. Address: Piazza dell’Olio, 15/r

Piazza della Signoria and Piazza Della Repubblica 

Plus any the historical cafes like Rivoire and Gilli– experience a true classic Aperitivo in stunning spaces (but stay at the bar, don’t sit unless you want to pay 8eu pp in extra) Rivoire was one of the bars where the Negroni was first served and Luca Picchi pours at Gilli.

Vodka Beat at Lo Sverso (pair with their chunky veg hummus and flatbread)


PanicAle- Modern & artsy young crowd hang-out spot for craft Italian beers on draft as well as decently priced cocktails. Address: Via Panicale, 7R

Sabor Cubano- Best rum-based, refreshing cocktails (the only place to get a mojito in my eyes) in town run by Cuban sweetheart Lopez Martinez. They serve nothing but a banana boat of plantain chips and sometimes fresh fruit. Not a traditional Aperitivo joint but I love Sabor Cubano so much that it would have broken my heart to exclude it from a drinks list. Address: Via Sant’Antonino, 64R

La Casa del Vino- Lovely small wine bar with rustic wood details, marble countertops and an insanely delicious wine selection, plus small plates or crostini bites. Love the crostini toscani (fegatino chicken liver pate toasts). Feels like Florence in the 80’s with some old world yet stylish soul. Address: Via dell’Ariento, 16r


Amble- I sincerely like the drinks, vibe and vintage decor here. Their concept of tramezzini & spritz are a hipster throwback to my jaunts to Venice, eating and drinking every triangle wonder bread sandy & cynar spritz in sight.  Address: Piazzetta dei Del Bene, 7/A,

Rivoire- One of the bars that poured Negroni during the age it was born in. And the bar counter offers the traditional Italian aperitivo of potato chips, olives and other salty snacks like pastry pizzette & finger foods.  Piazza della Signoria, 5

Fusion Bar at Gallery Art Hotel- Fusion is probably the only place next to Iyo Iyo to get sushi, and not only that, one of the few who boldly experiment deliciously with the Negroni. Not super duper close to the Uffizi but close enough, this bar has fab craft cocktails and you guessed it- fusion snacks inspired from Nikkei cuisine to pair along. Address: Vicolo dell’Oro, 3


Westin Excelsior- Probably the best rooftop view of Florence, sleek service and proper drinks (and edible food at their buffet) for a luxury hotel Aperitivo experience Address: Piazza Ognissanti, 3

Il Continentale- Just in front of Fusion, this is probably my ultimate favorite rooftop to get aperitivo simply because the drinks don’t suck (most rooftop bars utterly suck at making craft cocktails or anything drinkable but instead bank on their location) and the view is also pretty sweet. Address: Vicolo dell’Oro, 6r

Hotel Lucchesi (Empireo Bar)- The rooftop is spacious with the 2nd best views of the city and has more of a young, casual vibe in comparison to luxury Westin where I felt out of place without a fancy dress. The bar snack/small plate program is currently in collab with modernist restaurant Essenziale so think mortadella mini-pizzas and pistachio puree’. Not a big drinker but coming for the views? they have some no-abv options which I appreciate. Address: Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, 38



Le Volpi e L’Uva- Lovely wine bar with perfect finger food snacks like melted crostini, wines by the glass and tiny truffle filled panini and other rotating product specialties. Address: Piazza dei Rossi, 1R

Il Santino- Natural wines, or wines from small producers and a complimentary snack to pair. If you are feeling peckish, I suggest you delight in a bottle of bubbles and a mozzarella and anchovy crostino with a couple pals. They have incredible farmstead cheeses and meats for a delectable, choice tagliere. Get here early- the spot fills up quick and it’s tiny but worth every penny. Address: Via di Santo Spirito, 60/R

Pitti Gola Cantina- Smack dab in the square gawking at Palazzo Pitti, this wine bar is for people who take food and wine seriously. Order a snack like pate glazed with a vin santo reduction and pair with a tasting flights selected from their impressive library of wines. Address: Piazza de’ Pitti, 16

Hemingway- Enough with wines, on with the cocktails! A humble nook serving artisan chocolates, uncomplicated vintage cocktails and small aperitivo platters to pair like crackers, olives, cheese and meat.  Address: Piazza Piattellina, 9

Mad Souls & Spirits- Super unpretentious bar that feels like a sports bar but with no TV, Mad does everything but Aperol Spritz (thank god). They serve a tiny platter of raw crudite, olives, chips and finger panini like tramezzini. A sensible pick if all you’re looking for is a pre-dinner drink, and not necessarily wanting to be at a scene-y locale. Address: Borgo S. Frediano, 36-38r

Kawaii- Termed a cocktail & sake bar, they have a tiny menu of Japanese-inspired bar snacks and an impressive shelf stocked of small batch spirits and liquors. Snacks include raw sashimi and mini ramen bowls. I dig this place even for late night bites and drinks. Address: Borgo S. Frediano, 8/R

All the meats that go magically with the wines at Pane Amore e Fantasia
All the meats that go magically with the wines at Pane Amore e Fantasia

OFF THE BEATEN TRACK (need a taxi/bus/car ride/long walk from the center)

L’Gottino- In the practically unknown zone of Piazza Beccaria, this little wine bar offers select glass pours, tiny sandwiches and a meet/cheese/bruschetta platter for Aperitivo. I recommend it for those who want to get out of the city center (just 10-15minute walk from Santa Croce) and indulge in a slice of a local quarter. Address: Via Vincenzo Gioberti, 174/r

Serafini- They have a buffet I’d actually recommend- I suspect some of it is leftovers from the same-day’s lunch service, but the upside is they are mostly pastry goods they bake on-site, mini-pizza bites and plenty of vegetable options (crudite mostly) to pick from which cannot be ****ed up. They make decent spritz (ask for Campari or Cynar- aperol is a sugary overrated mess) and their wine selection is surprisingly decent. I love Serafini’s coffee scene during the day, too. Address: Via Gioberti, 168/r

Pane Amore e Fantasia- This place is a food lover’s dream come true. It’s totally out of the way and they have a hypnotizing array of snacks, meats from heritage varieties of swine, an euphoric selection of cheeses and a knock-out collection of wines- especially bubbly. The face of Pane Amore e Fantasia is the charming Lorenzo Vulashi who is incredibly personable, patient and knowledgeable. I’m in love with this place and Lorenzo. This guy provided the wines for that big fat Indian wedding in Florence last November that rang up a 14 MILLION quid bill. This little humble bakery and wine shop has taste and you should go. Via Ponte Alle Mosse 154r

Dogana- They have a whole case of gourmet crostini (loads of crushed pistachio, swoon!) and respectable fishy snacks. The place is TINY so get there early and stick to a bottle of bubbly for aperitivo (their house wine is not worth saving a few euros over) Address: Piazza Francesco Ferrucci, 3

Cafe Dogali- A local cafe with simple old-school Italian cocktails like aperol soda and spritz or some decent wines by the glass. If I were to do any “apericena,” I might do it here as they come out with their aperitivo foods in rounds as if it were a full-course meal. I like that they do fried coccoli (bread dough) and nice cheeses and meats.  Address: Viale Malta, 5

Gastronomia Galanti- Last but not least, the gastronomy deli of Italy’s awarded best sommelier (as I have previously written about here). Why not sip on wines picked by Italy’s award winning sommelier along with foods made in-house in this family-run and operated shop? Address: Piazza della Libertà, 31/red

For more resources on Aperitivo in Florence, check out these articles I have written either already on the blog, contributed to or for other online magazines:

Aperitivo in Florence- a round up via this blog

Aperitivo Time in Florence- basics and tips via Tuscanycious

Why Aperitivo Still Matters via Girl in Florence

Ideas for Aperitivo foods to make at home via this blog

Where to get cocktails in Florence via

Florence’s Cocktail Renaissance via

And of course check out this food tour in Florence complete with cocktails and wine: Aperitivo Tour in Florence with Curious Appetite

Stay tuned to this page and my social channels (@curiousappetite on facebook, instagram, snapchat and twitter) for live updates for all things food, drink and aperitivo!

In your Aperitivo trust,

Curious Appetite