Florence was a vegan heaven. I turned up thinking I’d be blown away by the amazing Renaissance paintings and beautiful architecture, but I came away amazed at the incredible variety of authentic vegan cuisine we found.
There were several fully vegan places, menus of traditional restaurants were clearly marked with vegan options, cafes had vegan croissants, and as for almond and oat milk lattes? No problem.
Staff at restaurants seemed surprisingly knowledgeable about veganism and helpful in sharing recommendations of other great places to eat.
A highlight of our trip was an incredible Airbnb experience we tried - rooftop yoga and a home cooked vegan Tuscan meal. The evening views of Florence were truly unsurpassed and we learnt some great new recipes - cannelini beans with rosemary and tomatoes, mushrooms with garlic and red wine and the most delicious black cabbage pesto pasta! If you have a spare evening - I highly recommend the experience.
If you’re planning a visit, I’ve rounded up my shortlist of the top vegan food to try. Happy Cow was a great source of information of interesting places too, so check it out!
Top vegan Italian foods to try in Florence
Best Vegan Pizza - Ti Do Uno Pizza
They have a dedicated vegan pizza menu, which is very extensive and they’re also open to mix and match combinations, so feel free to create your own. We have mixed vegetable pizzas with vegan cheese and vegan sausage! The vegan cheese and sausage are made locally and felt very fresh. The pizza dough was delicious and chewy and they provided lots of tasty chilli oil for dipping crusts. The place was quaint and felt very authentic! Book ahead - it’s small and cosy inside!
Best Ribollita - Trattoria Enzo e Piero
Ribollita is an authentic Tuscan dish made with white beans, cabbage and left over bread. The one at Trattoria Enzo e Piero was top notch.
A Trattoria is an authentic Tuscan restaurant and this one was very real. It’s still run by the same family who started it and the inside is very cosy and rustic. Given that, I was very surprised to find several clearly marked vegan options on the menu. As well as the ribollita, we also tried their fresh pasta with vegetable ragu and penne with black cabbage pesto (black cabbage is also known as cavolo nero). This place is a must for an authentic, Tuscan food experience!
Best Italian Sandwich - Pizzeria il Montino
We took a day trip to Pisa to see the leaning tower. The big question was, would there be vegan food there or should we take a packed lunch? We decided to risk it and found a vegan spot that looked reliable. To our shock, it was closed when we got there!
We had to rapidly find another option and to our surprise and delight, we found a little hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop that served sandwiches that rocked our world! Soft bread filled with a fluffy chickpea pancake called cecina, and topped with marinated mushrooms and aubergines. Forget the leaning tower- It might even be worth a trip to Pisa just for this sandwich! The owners didn’t seem to know much English, so just ask for the focaccia cecina, and savour every bite!
Best Gelato - Perche No
Can’t come to Italy and not try gelato, right? Even if it’s December, peak winter and -2 degrees Celcius! We chose Perche No as our spot and it was well worth being extra cold for! They have a dedicated vegan and dairy free section and vegan cones too. I tried scoops of the hazelnut and chocolate flavours and they were sublime. It’s tiny inside though, so better to grab and go, and wander around town.
Best Pasta - Brac
Finding good pasta was a key part of our Florence itinerary. Thankfully we were recommeded a great place by our Aunt, who’d visited Florence some years back and stumbled upon a super cute little spot called Brac.
This place is part library, part restaurant and it was very charming to eat dinner on a candle lit table surrounded by a library of books. They had the most delicious black cabbage pesto tagliatelle we’d ever had! Black cabbage pesto, we soon found, was a very common and authentic sauce for pasta in Florence, and it was delicious. We were also happily surprised at how reasonably priced it was - three courses for only €15! It’s small though, so do book in advance.
Best Coffee & Croissant - SimBIOsi Organic Cafe
I was told that croissants and coffees were the authentic Italian breakfast that I had to try. Having never come across a vegan croissant at a cafe in London, my expectations of finding one in Florence were pretty low. To my extreme surprise, the first cafe we tried outside our Airbnb had an abundance of vegan croissants! And of course oat milk lattes. The perfect way to energise for a day of visiting art galleries and learning about the Medici family and the Renaissance.
Best Biscotti - La Bottega
Afternoon coffees though, I heard needed a biscotti to accompany them. But where to find them? They weren’t in any cafes and I had all but given up hope of finding one, when by a chance encounter, I popped into a little grocery store, drawn in by the rainbow coloured pastas. And lo and behold I found some vegan biscotti. They were the perfect take home present for my family.