The fabulous people watching and extensive wine list (the owners also own vineyards in Chianti) make this restaurant–cum–wine bar, located on the buzzy Piazza della Repubblica, a great place for an aperitivo. Drinks come with a host of delicious small-dish plates, including, on a recent trip, grilled chicken and polenta.
Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina
Indagare member Avani Bhende recommends: “In the Oltarno, this is a great little wine bar across the piazza from the Pitti Palace. They do a wine-tasting (mainly Tuscan wines from the best producers and you can also buy the bottles here – we bought an excellent Brunello). They also serve small plates of food to go with the wine and you can make an evening of it if you don’t want a big restaurant-type meal.”
Golden View Open Bar
From the outside, this restaurant, bar and café, with its unfortunate name, looks like a tourist trap. But inside is a sleekly designed space where you can sip a fabulous aperitivi while gazing at the Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi on the other side of the river. At the adjacent O Café, picnickers heading to the hills surrounding San Miniato and Piazzale Michelangelo can stock up on small sandwiches, panini, pastries and cookies (nothing nearly as good is available up there).
La Dolce Vita
Florence local Chiara Ferragamo counts this hangout near Piazza Santo Spirito among her favorites for a drink before or after dinner in Oltrarno. It is not as polished as Colle Bereto, another aperitivo favorite, but chic locals pack it every night. Nurse a glass of Prosecco or a Negroni (Campari, vermouth and gin) in the cushy outdoor seating on the historic piazza, kept cozy in the cold whether by heat lamps.
Società Canottieri (Circolo Canottieri)
City Secrets is a series of innovative guidebooks whose contributors, from art historians and professors to novelists and architects, choose their personal “city secrets” to share. Read a Q&A with founding editor Robert Kahn. The following is a pick from City Secrets: Florence & Venice by Francesca dell’Acqua, an art historian.
Built at the beginning of the twentieth century beneath Giorgio Vasari’s sixteenth-century Piazzale degli Uffizi, the Società Canottieri (known more commonly as the Circolo Canotieri) is one of the most fascinating spots to experience Florence from a different point of view…relaxing in the sun in this flowered garden, one has the privilege of watching the city as if from its bellybutton. It’s no coincidence that among rowing club members the place is called l’ombelico. The club was established at the beginning of the last century and holds some prestige in international rowing circles. It occupies the undercrofts of the Uffizi Palace, and the beautiful wooden boats run… along the river toward the Ponte Vecchio. Although most of the club is open only to members, no one will stop you from having a drink at the bar or from taking a picture of the fascinating boat-gallery or Ponte Vecchio, where groups of envious tourists might watch you!