Throughout the centuries the streets of Florence have witnessed the rise and fall of many movements. It was in those streets that the brilliance of Da Vinci’s mind changed the course of our lives in ways that still defies comprehension. It was there that Botticelli and the likes of him, brought colour into the darkness that preceded Renaissance and a few hundred years later it was in those same streets that Maserati and his comrades gathered in the now called literary cafes of Florence, to discuss the innovative ideas of the futuristic movement.
Just as the works of those memorable men, the cafes where such mastery were conceived still survived through time and once in Florence, it is quite an interesting experience to visit these places.
Cafe Pazkowski, Cafe Giubbe Rosse, Rivoire and Gilli are some of the most beautiful and historically relevant cafes in Firenze, as the Italian call the city. In these cafes, one needs only a pinch of imagination to travel back to elegant days of Le belle époque.
The quality of the coffee in such places might be a bit disappointing, specially for the high standards set in Italy. The literary cafes of Florence are, as one would expect, a hype and they attract flocks of tourists every day.
In the era of self sticks and increased need of social validation, these cafes are disappointingly no longer the spot for intellectual and enlightening discussions. For that purpose, you should maybe, visit the Oblate cafe.
Placed in the town’s library, in a modest setting with scattered tables and chairs of different shapes and colours, this cafe seems to attract those who wish to avoid the many tourist traps around the city and in there, you can enjoy a fairly priced coffee and who knows, even experience one of those moments of intellectual brilliance that once were such commonplace in Florence.
Not so far from the cafe Oblate, you will stumble into cafe La Menagere, a modern and beautifully designed venue where the Florence of the 21st century displays its cosmopolitan and vibrant face. The cafe attracts a well- wired millennial crowd, an interesting contrast to the well-dressed, affluent clientele, you would find in cafe Rivoire or the likes of it.
Florence and its galleries take you into an enriching cultural and full of ride of art. At the risk of being unfair, I’d describe the city as “average at its best”. The cafe scene however, is lively and diverse. From the grandeur of cafe Gilli to the simplicity of cafe Oblate and everything in between, Florence, may be a bit hard on the pocket, but it most certainly has a flair for the cafe industry.