Florence Summer Cool Spots near the Station

Villa Vittoria Off Bar
Villa Vittoria

Now that residents are returning to Florence after their summer vacation, you might be looking for a nice place to relax with a cold drink. Here are two summer spots we’ve scouted, Villa Vittoria and OFF Bar, and our thoughts about what they have to offer.

VILLA VITTORIA — Multifaceted Nightlife Spot. Viale Filippo Strozzi, 2. Open from 7 pm to 3 am every day except for Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when it is closed. Free entry. Tables can be reserved at +39 3477077014 or at info@villavittoriafirenze.com.

This new nightlife spot, steps away from the Santa Maria Novella train station, is indisputably unique. The heart of the venue is set back a bit from its entrance by a sort of wooden bridge, which leads to the center of a snail-shaped formation of pathways, bar & food stands, a dj set, couches, benches, and a live music area. The music style selected each evening varies regularly depending on the theme, which is updated on the facebook page. The backdrop to this dazzling gathering of people, colorful lights, glasses and music is an impressive villa — the lights and images projected against the facade are splendid. 

The food stands are far more sophisticated than they sound — the packaging used is biodegradable and created with recycled materials, with no plastic in sight. The options, all very high quality, range from Spanish style tapas, heavier Italian primi (pasta dishes) and secondi (main courses), and desserts. For those who would prefer something a bit more formal though, there is an option with table service as well, which should be reserved in advance. On Sunday, there is an all-you-can-eat apericena for 8 €. 

The typical attire is a step above casual — nothing too fancy, but sneakers are discouraged. As the evening transitions into night, the scene changes from happy hour to nightclub, whichever shoes you wear, make sure they are comfortable enough for dancing!  (emma hempstead)

OFF BAR, Piazzale Oriana Fallaci (near the Lago dei Cigni).  Open 11 am – 1:30 pm.

Located adjacent to Florence’s Fortezza da Basso, perfectly positioned on the edge of a pond, OFF Bar offers a summer experience for locals and tourists alike seeking an outside space to soak in the Tuscan sun or cool down under the Tuscan moon with diverse food and beverage options.

In honor of their 10th year, the OFF Bar entertainment schedule is brimming with exciting displays every day of the week, boasting an extensive program of activities such as concerts, artistic workshops, cinema and exhibitions. On Mondays throughout the summer, for example, they showcase obscure examples of cinematography.  On Tuesdays, however, the events step away from cinema and are instead led by Progeas Family and dedicated to an evening of live music. Their full schedule of events is available on their website.

As well as offering entertainment, OFF Bar also has a wide range of beverages to take the edge off the intense Florentine summer. Not only do they have beers on tap, wines, soft drinks and spirits, but the bar also has a separate mojito menu. Each option is stranger than the last, starting with a basic mojito (the classic combination of rum, lime, brown sugar, & mint) and leading to peculiar alternatives with unexpected ingredients like Tequila, limoncello or chocolate liqueur. 

The food offerings are provided by two different stations, IccheThai and Malborghetto. IccheThai is a fusion street-food kitchen with Thai and other Asian influences, providing plates such as Thai green curry and Pad Thai, as well as their ever-changing daily special.  Malborghetto, on the other hand, offers a more traditional Italian cuisine, serving stone baked pizzas with all of the usual toppings. 

The venue fills up quickly, so make sure to get there with enough time to grab a table or set up your picnic blanket and enjoy the full potential of this summer venue. Dogs and children are welcome, making OFF Bar a perfect evening out for the whole family.  (karl whittaker)