Whenever I travel, I always look for new ways to experience the local culture. When I saw that the company Taste Florence offers food tours in Florence, Italy, I saw an opportunity for a kind of tour that I’ve never been on – a tour all about food!
A bakery in Florence, one of our earlier stops on the tour
Everything in this bakery looked amazing!
Taste Florence’s half-day tour brings you to a variety of destinations in Florence, from enotecas to bakeries. Not only are you invited to taste the many different foods that Florence has to offer, but you also learn a lot as well. Each shop has its own history and stories which the tour reveals to the hungry traveller. Additionally, Taste Florence keeps the groups small and personal, which creates an intimate experience– something I thought enhanced our trip.
A sandwich from the market
One of the many smiling faces we encountered on the tour
In a city like Florence, it can be hard to find quality, traditional food, especially with shops aimed towards drawing tourists to the most convenient places. This tour takes you to eateries that are hidden, yet easily accessible in the historic center of Florence. Each stop is centered not only around Taste Florence’s staff favorites, but also includes places with a ton of history. Many of these shops have been in Florence for tens of years, and give off a genuine Italian feel ranging from the food, to the ambiance, to the people we encountered.
A stop inside a market
When you first book your tour, Taste Florence tells you to be sure to eat a light breakfast that morning- and they mean it! The whole day is filled with eating and tasting food, and you do not want to miss a single bite at any of these shops and cafes. Toni, our guide, pointed out shops she would recommend, sharing her knowledge of Florence as we made our way walking through the Florentine streets to each of the tour’s stops.
On our way to our next location, walking through the small streets
One of my favorite stops on the tour was a wine shop (or as the Italians call it, an enoteca) which had a wine cellar downstairs. It was quiet and nicely lit, giving off a wonderful atmosphere. It was astounding to me that places like this are somewhat hidden, as by looking at the outside of the shop you would never expect to find this downstairs. I could have completely overlooked such a wonderful place and never realized!
The wine cellar had a great ambiance
At the end of the tour, we stopped for tea and limoncello. As we chatted about our day, Toni gave each of us a map that showed all the places we had stopped at, with notes about what we ate, so that we could return whenever we wanted to. Thanks to Taste Florences’ excellent planning, all of the cafes and shops we stopped at were in close proximity to each other. Toni was very helpful, recommending other places to stop for food and offering to make reservations. Not only did she recommend places in Florence, she also was able to share information about cities outside Florence as well.
Toni made sure we knew what we ate and where so we could go back to enjoy some more!
If Taste Florence sounds enticing to you, I would definitely recommend making this tour one of your first activities in Florence. You will likely find yourself wanting to go back to experience these treats again– from paninis, to pastries, to cheese, to wine. If you save it for your last days in Florence, you might just need to make a trip back to Florence ASAP to satisfy your cravings. But that isn’t such a bad thing, right?
To book a food tour and to learn more about Taste Florence, be sure to visit http://tasteflorence.com/
Danielle Sheridan is a photographer based out of New York. You can view her work at http://www.daniellesheridanphoto.com.