Florence Summer Spots Post-Pandemic
There are several summer spots — including one that is new — to check out for outdoor events and fine dining in Florence. From Serre Torrigiani on via Gusciana near Porta Romana to other cultural aperitivo venues including the Villa Vittoria, Parc Bistrò, and La Toraia on the Arno River, summer 2020 welcomes a new socializing normal post-pandemic.
Serre Torrigiani, which opened on June 18 and is situated in the heart of the largest private garden in Florence from which it is named, is brand new — this comes after the health emergency made it impossible for the reopening of its original location in Piazza del Tre Re, off via Calzaiuoli. Serre Torrigiani is located at the Porta Romana entrance to the Garden and is open from 6 pm to 1 am daily. There are a total of 80 tables available, all scattered throughout the garden. Reservations are only accepted for groups of 10 people or more.
The guest can stroll through various beds full of seasonal flowers and plants scattered through the 1,000 square meter (3,200 ft.) green space. The area was originally a botanical garden but during the Romantic era numerous statues and a 72 ft. neo-Gothic tower were added. The new restaurant offers live music, readings, and art exhibitions, as well as an aperitivo, apericena, and dinner. Drinks range from €6 to €10, and all food is available à la carte. For aperitivo, choose from a selection of Tuscan meats and cheeses, hummus and chips, or bruschetta ranging from €6 to €15 depending on your order. The apericena is more substantial with a panzanella (Tuscan bread-based salad with tomato and cucumbers) or summer pasta salad as a first course, while dinner includes meat hot off the grill from a nearby barbecue in the garden. For more information on upcoming events check out their Facebook page, or call 328 966 6268.
For another garden experience, head to Villa Vittoria Firenze (via Filippo Strozzi 2) adjacent to the park at the Fortezza da Basso. The locale offers a wide range of aperitivi, street food in the lawn area available until late. If you want to stop by for a drink, choose from a variety of cocktails, wines, and beers. For dinner, customers can choose from hamburgers, platters of cheeses and cold cuts, Indian street food, pizza, ice cream, and other desserts, or opt for the Movida menu at €25 offering quiche, couscous, paella, dessert and a bottle of wine for four for those interested in a sit-down style meal. Besides a wide variety of eateries, the location offers music evenings where guests can enjoy an aperitivo or dinner while listening to live music by artists such as DJ Keller and Leo Magro DJ. To learn more about what Villa Vittoria has to offer, check out their website.
In addition to Villa Vittoria and Serre Torrigiani, we recommend visiting Parc Bistrò, located on the ground floor of the Performing Arts Research Center (PARC). The cafeteria, wine shop, and bistro is open every day from 9 am to 10 pm. You can stop by for a quick coffee, or stay for a high-quality lunch or aperitivo. Every Sunday the bistro offers a Spanish brunch from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. Located in the Cascine, Parc Bistrò has become the new food and wine scene in Florence now offering musical evenings and live events.
PARC, a place for artists, choreographers, and performers to come together to study and perform, will also host an evening of dance through nightly Thursday, July 30. Giovanfrancesco Giannini, Fabio Novembrini, and Valentina Zappa, all dancers and choreographers in residence at PARC, will perform the “Memories_an archive of gestures.” Through dance the show discusses diversity, racism, xenophobia, and globalization, asking whether dance can create a new sense of humanity during troubling times.
Along with the popular Cascine, the Arno riverside is also hosting the reopening of La Toraia, the first pop-up cafe located in the Bellariva neighborhood on nearby Lungarno del Tempio. Open every day from 6 pm to midnight, the food truck with tables along the riverside is another destination for an enjoyable aperitivo and live music, and also hosts “Cultural Wednesdays” for all ages.
La Toraia sells street food and their own artisan beers. Hungry customers can delight in one of freshest Chianina burgers and add whatever their heart desires: tomato, onions in addition to pecorino or burrata cheese, truffle sauce and even mayonnaise and Heinz ketchup—a classic. Every patty is grilled to juicy perfection right in front of your eyes. All of La Toraia’s meat comes from their ranch along with all their own personally grown vegetables. To accompany the burger, choose one of their light or red beers.
In accordance with health protocols, locals and tourists alike can enjoy hanging out at these venues throughout the summer. (elizabeth berry)