Tuscany's rolling hills and lush landscape are a lot closer than you think when you realise that it is all within reach from the heart of Florence. The sound of the Arno River beckons you to stay a little longer after all the sightseeing and business appointments, because a Florentine meal is not to be rushed. Here are our favourite spots to truly take time to savour the riches of Tuscany...
Il Borro Tuscan Bistro
Now you can experience a slice of life in the medieval village of Il Borro without venturing into the countryside. The Tuscan Bistro, situated just off the Santa Trinità Bridge, brings you the simple natural way of life through its restaurant, wine bar and boutique. Stop by any time of the day for brunch, lunch, tea time, happy hour, dinner or late-night drinks. And why not take home Il Borro selected farm products as souvenirs too? www.ilborrotuscanbistro.it
LUXOS Recommends: Roasted Chianina beef with potatoes and sesame/ Chianina arrostita con patate al sesamo e insalata
La Bottega del Buon Caffè
You don’t have to venture deep into the Florentine hills to enjoy Tuscany. La Bottega del Buon Caffè, located right on the Arno River, uses the freshest produce from 5-star Borgo Santo Pietro’s own farm near Siena to create its hearty menu. Organic eggs, vegetables, flowers, honey and herbs compose a delicious symphony where locally sourced ingredients hit all the right notes. Enjoying good food in a cosy armchair, it has never been so easy to lose track of time. www.labottegadelbuoncaffe.com
LUXOS Recommends: Amberjack fish tartar, belly and fillet with asparagus and onion/ Ricciola servita in tartare, ventresca e filetto con asparagi e cipolle
Homemade pastas to die for, farm-fresh meat and live seafood off the hook have made Buca Mario a culinary mecca since 1886. Not just, its cosy vaulted dining room inside Palazzo Niccolini makes it an atmospheric venue for both couples and groups. Passionate about locally-sourced produce, Buca Mario offers the best of land and sea prepared according to time-honoured Tuscan traditions. Remember to have your dish paired with a thoughtfully selected wine from the restaurant’s own cellar. www.bucamario.com
LUXOS Recommends: Homemade fresh Cappellacci pasta with butter and sage / Cappellacci freschi fatti in casa al burro e salvia
Irene at The Savoy
The Savoy Hotel's Irene features truly authentic Tuscan dishes as imagined and created by Director of Food Fulvio Pierangelini and Head Chef Giovanni Cosmai. The masterful pairing of Fulvio Pierangelini's menu, which pulls from is profound understanding of Tuscany's culinary tradition, and Chef Giovanni Cosmai picking only the freshest and most fragrant ingredients from local farmers and suppliers each morning results in the creation of an unforgettable dining experience. Choose to dine on the restaurant's perfectly situated terrace during the summer for a beautiful meal paired with prime people-watching on the always lively Piazza della Repubblica.
LUXOS Recommends: Ask manager Paul Feakes for his top picks of the season.
Now located in the centre of Florence, by the Uffizi Gallery, the legendary Tuscan restaurant was once situated just opposite Le Murate, a former women’s prison. The restaurant takes its name from the prisoners’ mandatory hour of exercise or 'hour of air'. Ora d'aria boasts the talents of Head Chef Marco Stabile whose Pisan roots are reflected in his approach to traditional Tuscan fare. The à la carte menu of the soon-to-be Michelin starred restaurant changes frequently, so enter without expectations and be prepared for Stabile's innovative dishes created using with local, seasonal ingredients. www.oradariaristorante.com
LUXOS Recommends: that you ask the waiter what dishes have been added to the menu or try the Tuscan or Fish themed tasting menu
Il Palagio at The Four Seasons Hotel, Florence
Michelin Starred restaurant Il Palagio, located in the former stable block at the historic Palazzo della Gherardesca offers an elegant indoor dining experience with a terrace overlooking the Four Seasons' private garden for the summertime. Executive Chef Vito Mollica and his team offer unique Tuscan dishes, with exquisite wine pairings, formed from exceptional seasonal ingredients produced by artisans throughout the region. Chef Mollica's fresh culinary perspective offers guests a contemporary interpretation of Italian cuisine. www.ilpalagioristorante.it
LUXOS Recommends: Executive Chef Vito Mollica's Tasting Menus, as they are always a culinary surprise.
image courtesy of tripadvisor.com
Cibrèo, a world-renowned hub for international creatives and intellectuals, is home to equally scintillating traditional Tuscan cuisine as reimagined by the historic locale's owner and Head Chef, Fabio Picchi. Ancient recipes such as spinach stew or roast pigeon stuffed with fruit mustard are masterfully reinterpreted by Picchi and his team created from only the finest local ingredients gathered from nearby farms and Florentine farmers markets. Be sure to ask your server for the daily specials. www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it
LUXOS Recommends: Try Chef Picchi’s homemade chocolate cake and/or cheesecake with bitter Sicilian marmalade