‘Wild Buns’ Finds a Permanent Home
Wild Buns is a Scandinavian bakery on Via di Camaldoli, 1/c in the Oltrarno neighborhood. The newest local craze, the café is a small but lovely little place in a cute area of Florence. When you walk in, you’re immediately surrounded by the rich smell of baking and specialty coffee, all made locally.
After three on-off years of welcoming guests at various pop-up locations, Wild Buns finally found a permanent home in September 2022. The wide, open space is contained all in one room, so as you sit and eat one of their wildly delicious cinnamon buns or cardamom rolls, you can watch the bakers roll out the dough and slide them into the oven, filling the air with the scent of baking. The decoration has a Nordic aesthetic with black and white colors, and plants hanging everywhere, creating a soothing and welcoming atmosphere. In an interview, the young owner, Robert Marrandi, said, “The place is me.” True to his words, he decorated the space himself, designing everything exactly as he imagined it.
Robert came to Florence from Estonia because he felt the city was perfect for him, in terms of size. He told us that it was a wonderful city and he loved the Arno river and the people. In fact, it’s the people that inspired him to start baking and to continue baking until today and far into the future. Robert told us, “Seeing people come in, what they like, their smiling faces, that’s what inspires me the most. Without that, I would not be doing what I’m doing now.”
The menu at Wild Buns is the thing that continues to draw those people into the store, over and over again. The bakery not only has specialty coffee, there are also chai lattes and matcha tea, two popular drinks all over the world. The oat milk has been attracting Robert a lot of business since very few places in the city offer oat milk. It is even sold by the bottle for those who can’t get enough. Their interesting and varied assortment of buns and rolls is a big draw, and lately, their seasonal food and drinks have been gaining in popularity. Wild Buns sells Nordic gingerbread cookies, and saffron bread, as well as a delightful Nordic mulled wine that’s been a local winter favorite.
Buns come in flavors such cinnamon-cardamom-raisin, salted caramel, cinnamon chocolate, lemon poppyseed, pumpkin spice, and even a brunch bun with egg, chive, bacon, cheese, and sesame seeds.
The item Robert was most proud of, however, was the sourdough bread, one of their one trademark items. According to Robert, people actually come in from all over the city just to buy their sourdough bread. The menu consists of several sourdough bread sandwiches that have customers raving. A few of the selections include an avocado, tomato lettuce sandwich, and a salmon, avocado, and greens sandwich. This exceptional menu, and the quality of the ingredients, not to mention the care with which everything is made, make it obvious as to why customers continue to return.
The Covid pandemic sweeping the city did damage to many businesses in Florence, but Wild Buns survived thanks to the hard work of Robert and his staff. During the lockdown, people continued to order from him, and he was devoted to baking and delivering the orders himself. It went slowly, but steadily, and he made it out the other side just fine through this and the long four years of growing his business! In fact, his business had been growing, his staff count going from two to five in recent times.
He has many plans for the future, maybe franchising, maybe opening shops in other cities if he does well enough. He opened a Scandinavian bakery because it was missing in Florence, it was something missing that he wanted to do his part to fill, and maybe somewhere down the line, there will be other cities that need that spot to be filled by Wild Buns. Robert said, “The future is open, and I’m open, so I’ll just go with the flow.” Wild Buns is the new place to try, so if you find yourself south of the Arno, stop by and say hi to Robert, and try some delicious coffee and diverse, delicious buns. It’s open from Wednesday to Friday, 8:30 am to 3 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 3 pm. (Isabella Azzaro)