Italian life is best captured in the local cafes…
A little bit of cafe etiquette: First things first, when at an Italian caffe, if you choose to have your coffee at the bar or counter, you go to the cashier to put in your order and pay first. You then take the sales receipt to the counter and hand it to the barista and specify you coffee preference. Should you decide to sit at a table then the waiters come to you, but be aware it costs more to sit then to stand. Tipping for coffee is not required though most people leave the small change, the 10 cents and 20 cents coins from the change paid for coffee, on the counter as a small thank you.
The iconic Caffe Gilli sits literally in the centre of Florence and is a beacon to local life in city. On the festive Piazza della Repubblica Gilli terrace life is popular and lively and inside the classic cafe of times gone by remains grand in its polished opulence. While the main counter is always popular it is completely buzzing during the morning rush hour with locals and tourists alike cozying up around the counter for a morning espresso or cappuccino. Then they all come back later for a bit of trendy aperitivo before heading home or out to dinner.
This historical caffe and pastry shop sits in the perfect spot on the elegant Piazza della Signoria. From the outdoor tables you have an amazing view of the Palazzo Vecchio, and in the summer months music plays on many nights making this cafe prime positioning. Rivoire began its life as a chocolatier and remains a purveyor of fine sweets and pastries, but it is a true cafe and most importantly it holds the certificate for serving the original negroni. Indeed Rivoire serves up some of the best Negroni in the city which makes it a great place for aperitivo as well as a morning coffee. Do not leave Florence without tasting their cantuccini (biscotti).
Having your coffee while listening to the church bells makes Le Scuderie on the Piazza del Duomo a perfect way to start the day. Another one of the old Florentine cafes, Scuderie, like Rivoire and Gilli serve excellent coffee with pastries and have local pedigree.