Florence – Santa Maria Novella bars & cafés

Via della Vigna Nuova 63r
Phone: 055 284 941
Open 8.30am-8.30pm Mon-Sat. No credit cards.

Smart but cosy with an immense display of the finest Tuscan wines available. This is a lunchtime favourite for local designer-emporium shop assistants and you can choose from sandwiches such as marinated artichoke or grilled vegetables with brie, or order a bowl of fresh pasta. At tea-time you can sample luscious lemon tart or enjoy an aperitif at the bar loaded with snacks.

Bar Curtatone
Borgo Ognissanti 167r
Phone: 055 210 772
Open 7am-1am Mon, Wed-Fri, Sun; 7am-2am Sat. Closed 2wks Aug. No credit cards.

A vast but stylish café serving an impressive array of pastries, cakes and savouries. Have a three-course meal (12.30-2.30pm) or sip on a selection of liqueurs and aperitifs and though it’s nearly always busy, service is efficient and friendly.

Caffè Megara
Via della Spada 15-17r
Phone: 055 211 837
Open 8am-2am Mon-Sat (lunch 11.30am-3pm). No credit cards.

Crowds come here for lunch dishes such as pasta and tomato sauce and eggplants and nut sauce. There are also substantial breakfasts and sumptuous cheesecakes on offer. At happy hour (5-8pm) cocktails are around 3 euros, and there are student discounts after 9pm. There are heaps of international newspapers and magazines to keep you up to date on current affairs and when you finish looking at the pictures there is the satellite TV to keep your brain engaged.

Lungarno Corsini 12/14r
Phone: 055 210 751
Open noon-4pm Mon; noon-2am Tue-Sun.

This is one of Florence’s most desirable café-bars. In the frescoed non-smoking salon, the choice of foods and snacks is great. There are simple panini, smoked fish plates, and to drink champagne and an extensive whisky collection. Cappuccino and espresso come with handmade chocolate ice-cream.

Giacosa Roberto Cavalli
Via della Spada 10r
Phone: 055 277 6328
Open: 7.30am-8.30pm Mon-Sat. Closed 2 weeks in August

Leopard-skin couches and full wall-screen catwalk shows of the extravagant Florentine designer Cavalli completed the interior of this very stylish café and even the chocolate is piped into animal print patterns if you have desserts. Watch out, because the outside tables are often visited by the man himself!!

Latteria Moggi
Via del Parione 44r
Phone: 349 755 2330
Open 7.30am-8pm Mon-Sat. No credit cards.

This relaxed no-smoking café with bleached wood tables and benches is a handy spot for salad or sandwiches, and is very popular with students from the university campus, located just across the road. Try a yoghurt, milk pudding or one of the rich home-made ice-creams from the chiller cabinet.

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