Summertime in Florence means high temps and long days, but it also means the opening of rooftop bars around the city to beat the heat and enjoy the extended hours of sunshine with a steady breeze and a cold drink.
If are not familiar with the concept of the aperitivo in Italy (especially Tuscany), let me fill you in... because it is fantastic!
Italy may not have a cafe culture, but they certainly have a cocktail culture! Basically from about 7:00 to 9:00 pm every day Italians indulge in a pre-dinner drink (this is more prominent in northern Italy, and, like I said, the Tuscans are the best at it). Now, it is important to note that this pre-dinner drink is not a happy hour. The goal is not to drink as many cheap drinks as possible. In true Italian fashion, the pre-dinner drink is actually heavily geared towards food, eating, and socializing.
At an aperitivo you pay for a drink and with this drink you are served either a selection of small plates or a full-fledged buffet. What is offered depends on where you are, but this tradition has grown especially elaborate in Florence. In Florence, you will find places like Kitsch, Soul Kitchen, and Gallery that offer a substantial all-you-can-eat buffet of Tuscan delights included in the price of your drink. I often advise people to go to a good aperitivo for dinner in the summer if they want to avoid the costs of a sit down restaurant or if they want a lighter meal.
Combine this great drink tradition in Florence with a fabulous rooftop bar and you have the perfect summer evening!
Since sipping prosecco while overlooking the gorgeous Renaissance architecture of Florence is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening, I thought I would share Florence's best rooftop bars. Now, not all of these serve an elaborate aperitivo everyday (or at all), but it is still hard to beat these views and all are worth "just" a drink.
Without further ado, here are my favorites:
Biblioteca delle Oblate
This secret little gem is actually a public library in the center of town with a terrace that overlooks the Duomo. In addition to a (free) spectacular view, there is also a cafeteria on top that offers both drinks and a pretty extensive and well priced aperitivo.
Plaza Hotel Lucchesi
The Lucchesi's rooftop pool and American bar boasts an amazing view of the city and the church of Santa Croce.
Grand Hotel Cavour
A great terrace in the center of the city that offers a great view of Florence's medieval monuments, the Badia and Bargello. It is also one of the few open year round!
Grand Hotel Minerva
The Minerva often hosts special events on their rooftop. As you can see from the photo above, the Minerva has a gorgeous pool as the centerpiece of their terrace bar.
A very posh spot for a drink (with prices to match). This rooftop is small, but very chic, great people watching, and a stunning view (all of which justify the steeper prices).
The Westin Excelsior
Like the Continentale, the Westin has a high price point, but it is well worth at least one drink. And you can also dine on the rooftop if you feel so inclined.
Alla Torre De' Rossi
This one is technically a restaurant and not a bar. And I will be candid, the food is average. But, the prices are incredibly affordable considering the amazing location and view.
You can see more of my posts on and guides for Florence here!
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