An Evening In Piazza Santo Spirito – Florence’s Oltrano District
Posted On August 9, 2018
Florence’s Oltrano district is often referred to as “the locals” area of Florence, away from the hustle and bustle of tourists on the Ponte Vecchio, the Duomo, and the Piazza della Signoria. In truth, that’s not quite accurate; Florence is a major worldwide tourist destination, and if you think you’ll avoid other tourists, you’re kidding yourself.
That said, the Oltrano is certainly less obviously touristy than some other major locations in Florence, and it’s worth checking out. We’ll help you spend the evening in Piazza Santo Spirito.
If you’ve done your research, you know that Italians live and die by their happy hour tradition, called aperitivo. They gather before dinner to sip drinks, eat light snacks, and socialize with each other after their day. If you’re in Florence, you should do it too! The Oltrano neighborhood is a great place to try.
Check out Volume right on the eastern edge of Santo Spirito Plaza. In fact there are a few aperitivo bars along that eastern edge, but Volume is our favorite. The music is great, the bartenders are friendly, and the free aperitivo snacks are higher quality than some other places. There are relaxing armchairs and couches to get you in the mood to relax for the evening.
If you’ve had enough of Volume, or are maybe looking for a slightly quieter place, check out Langolino, just south of the Piazza. In our experience, it keeps rather sporadic hours, but they have wine on tap and some outdoor space for those nicer evenings.
Finally, check out Il Santino, a tiny wine bar a block closer to the river. The knowledgeable bartenders will help you pick an interest glass of vino, and pair it with a crostini or little snack that’ll match perfectly. There aren’t many seats and it gets busy, but it’s worth stopping in!
We’ve got a guilty-pleasure favorite in Santo Spirito. You won’t be avoiding the tourists, but there’s a famous dish at Osteria Santo Spirito that we eat every single time we visit. You’ll see lots of people eating it, and you owe it yourself to try the gnocchi gratin with cheese and truffle oil. It’s incredibly rich, creamy, and works well splitting with others so everyone can have a bite. You may want to stop by the restaurant earlier in the day to snag a dinner reservation, but you can certainly try walking in.
If you’re around at lunchtime or just looking for something more casual, make your way to Gusto Pizza, just a block away from the Piazza in the Oltrano. Pizzas made fresh to order in a blazing oven, cute staff, plus serve-yourself wine into plastic cups. It’s easy and it’s delicious.