Top 10 (+1) Food Specialties not to miss in Florence

October 2, 2014
Enrico Catani

Experiencing Florence at its fullest implies not only to visit its wonderful monuments and squares, but also to taste its world-famous culinary specialties.
Just like that of the whole region of Tuscany, also the Florentine cuisine is made of ancient recipes based on simple ingredients, which mostly come from local productions: the main produces are the bread (main ingredients of the most famous recipes), the extra-virgin olive oil, the meat (mostly beef, but also wild-boar, deer and rabbit!) and, finally, the wine (considered among the best in the world).
The traditional dishes of the Florentine cuisine boast a variety of flavors, colors, customs and costs to suit all budgets and taste, offering an intense, authentic gastronomic eXPerience. So, here is a list – brought you by ItalyXP – of the 10 (+1) foods you shouldn’t miss if you visit Florence!


Made only of toasted bread and extra-virgin olive oil, the fettunta is mainly linked to the olive harvest. Originally, in fact, it was prepared for the tasting of the so-called “olio nuovo” (the new oil of the year). Obviously, today is eaten throughout the year: ideal to be served as an appetizer, better if rubbed with fresh garlic, but is also suits as a good accompaniment for other dishes, especially soups (in which it can be soaked).
As you can imagine, the preparation of the fettunta is extremely simple: what makes the real difference is the quality of the oil. We suggest trying this dish in autumn, during the harvest time, as you can feel the pungent, intense flavor of the freshly made oil

Chicken-Liver Crostini

The crostini with chicken liver (or rabbit liver, depending on the recipe) are a classic appetizer of the Florentine culinary tradition, along with the bruschetta with tomato and the Tuscan cold cuts.
Just like many deish, every Florentine restaurant preserves its own “unique” and inimitable recipe for its preparation: the main ingredient is logically the chicken livers, thoroughly cleaned, but there is who gladly adds onions, capers or the chicken-spleen (a delicious ingredient that seems difficult to find nowadays).
But apart from the various recipes, the key to a great Liver Crostini is the quality of bread, crisp on the outside but custardy on the inside, so that it can literally melt in your mouth…

Pappa al pomodoro

The pappa al pomodoro is a simple, yet delicious dish of peasant origins. Prepared with stale bread, tomatoes, garlic, basil and plenty of extra-virgin olive oil, it was originally intended as an ingenious way to avoid wasting the leftover bread in the Florentine families.
As often happened with the simple dishes, also for the pappa al pomodoro coexist dozens of variations and gradations of color, but equally delicious: great in winter as hot soup, but equally inviting and tasty in summer if served cold and sprinkled with fresh tomatoes and basil leaves. A must-eat for you Food eXPerience in Florence!


The panzanella is a popular cold dish, beloved by Florentines (and not only them!) since ancient times. Just as the foods we’ve described above, also here the main ingredient is the bread: in this case old dry bread, moistened in water and mixed with the vegetables, to create a sort of “bread salad”.
Obviously the recipe has undergone several changes, such as the recent introduction of the tomatoes (which weren’t used in the traditional recipe), and some ingredients might change in other Tuscan cities (in Siena, for example, the cucumber is not used, although is a must in the Florentine version).
Note: the origin of the term panzanella may come from the combination of the word “pane” (“bread” in Italian) and the “zanella” (bowl), as this recipe is served in a bowl.


Considered an icon of the Florentine cuisine, the ribollita is a sort of winter soup of stale bread and vegetables, prepared in a special way.
Its name, ribollita (which can be translated as “re-stewed”) derives from the fact that in ancient times the peasants were used to cook a lot of vegetables soup on Fridays, and when they couldn’t finish it in one day, they “re-stewed” the same soup in the pot in the following days, following the sacred rule of “not wasting any food”.
Even today, the real ribollita is cooked twice, and like all other vegetable soups it  becomes more tasty each time it is “re-stewed”. 

Bistecca alla Fiorentina [Florentine steak]

The bistecca alla fiorentina is a cut of meat from beef or scottona which, combined with the specific preparation, makes it one of the most popular dishes of Tuscan cuisine. It is a high-cut comprehensive of the bone, to cook over coals or on the grill, with doneness "blood".The history of the Florentine steak is as old as the city from which it takes its name, and if they lose track back in time. However, his tradition, his celebrity and his name can be traced back to the celebration of the feast of San Lorenzo and the Medici family. At San Lorenzo, August 10, the city was illuminated in the light of bonfires, where large quantities of meat were roasted veal which were then distributed to the population.Florence at the time of the Medici was an important crossroads where you could meet travelers coming a bit 'all over the world and so it is said that on the occasion of a San Lorenzo were present at the celebrations some English knights who were offered the roasted meat on the fires. They called it in their language beef steak referring to the type of meat they were eating. From here a translation adapted to the current language created the word steak that has come down to our days.


The lampredotto (amprey) is a type of tripe, which identifies some parts of the digestive system of the animal, including the esophagus, three stomachs (rumen, reticulum, omasum) and a true glandular stomach, the abomasum.Tripe is a common part of the rumen call to Florence Cross for its unequivocal form: is white and smooth, not aggressive flavor and texture compact and tough.The lattice is called cap shape that resembles a shower cap. It has a spongy appearance, in small cells, with a slightly milder flavor and a softer texture compared to the cross.In Tuscany the word tripe refers only to the cross and to the headphones.The lampredotto is the stomach abomasum. It includes a lean part, called gala, characterized by ridges (gale) purple that collect the best flavor and a part called Spannocchia, a little 'fatter and tough, the lighter color and flavor slightly rounder.

Fagioli all'Uccelletto [baked beans]

The baked beans are one of the typical dishes of Florence, a city with an ancient history and gastronomy importance.
The fame of this recipe is mainly linked to the simplicity of its ingredients and its intense flavor but delicate at the same time which makes it a great accompaniment especially for meat. Although they are well known, no one has ever been able to understand the meaning of the Italian name, where "uccelletto" means "little birds", as in the recipe of birds there is no trace.

Schiacciata alla fiorentina [sweet baked flatbread]

There are various types of "schiacciata", and all very different between them. Spiking or custard, sweet ancient tradition, whose origins are found in the Chianti area. In the past it was the custom to prepare these sweet loaves - high and swollen - which despite the name were much more similar to that panettone cakes, to offer as a gift, sopragttutto during Easter.The mixture was flavored with mint syrup or orange, and anise seeds soaked in Vin Santo kept dry. In some areas, the preparation of these delicacies down a long rising, and is engraved with a cross at the center before you bake, as a sign of devotion or good luck. It's also great dipped in Vin Santo.

Pan di Ramerino

The pan di ramerino (ramerino bread) is a sandwich, not too big, soft and sweet made with bread dough, raisins (raisins) and rosemary. Is often also added to the mixture of milk and eggs.
Of medieval origin, its ingredients had certainly evolved. Think of the sugar for example. Traditionally linked to the period before Easter, in the not very distant, it was for sale in the ovens of Florence and the surrounding area only on the day of Holy Thursday, already blessed by the priests in the area. Today, the Pan di Ramerino you can find it on sale at other times of the year.

(+1) Cervello alla Fiorentina [fried calf brain]

This uncommon dish is one of those foods that are delicious but at the same time horrifying for some people. I found it odd, given the prevalence and success of this recipe Florentine trattorias and restaurants, not to find mention in this site, so I am attaching the recipe of my house, just to fill the gap! If you do not mind a priori handle this substance from horror movies, soggy texture and the sweet taste of this kind of "offal", you will find a second brain fried delicious. To me it gives comfort in the fact that it is a healthy food (mad cow disease has done its days) and nutritious. Given that the lambs are killed for their meat anyway, might as well have full access to the parts...

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