Florence Nightlife

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Florence’s nightlife is fuelled by the city’s well-heeled, foreign students who come to study Italian and History of Art. Old World meets New World, as gangs of silver-tongued Romeos gather to admire leggy American blondes.

Despite a minimum drinking age of 18, partying in Florence is a determinedly young scene, with students fresh out of school getting their first taste of freedom and enjoying the proliferation of inexpensive wine and flexible licensing hours – some pubs stay open until 0100 or even 0300. The most bohemian area is the Oltrarno, south of the river, where bright young things can play until the small hours. Elsewhere, nightlife is concentrated around Piazza della Signoria, home of more sedate venues. Florentines, like most Italians, are self-consciously stylish with a definite bent towards smart, conservative dress. Dress up, take a pew outside one of the city’s elegant cafés and enjoy being admired in a city where beauty is taken for granted.

As with any university city, bars and clubs experience peaks and troughs of popularity. To find out where the action is, buy Firenze Spettacolo – the city’s definitive entertainment publication – or check out Florence Today, a free listings publication distributed twice a month. Entry to clubs is expensive at around €13, although tickets usually include a free drink at the bar.

Bars: For a glimpse of an authentic Italian watering hole, wend your way to Le Volpi and L’ Uve, Piazza de’Rossi 1, to sample some of the best wines the region has to offer. The owners, Riccardo and Emilio, can advise a plate of salami and cheese to accompany your choice of wine. Rex, Via Fiesolana 25r, is a sound bet for chic company, good mixers and tasty tapas, while for great snacks in the city centre, try Cantinetta del Verrazzono, Via dei Tavolini 18-20r. Strictly for homesick ex-pats is the Fiddler’s Elbow, Piazza Santa Maria Novella 7r, an Irish-style pub with satellite television, a good line in Guinness and would-be Celts. South of the river, La Dolce Vita, Piazza del Carmine, is more laid-back and popular with students who spill out onto the piazza. Then there is tiny Vini, Via dei Cimatori 38, a simple wine counter – one of the last in the city – founded in 1875. Just stand on the pavement with the other customers and enjoy the wine. There is old-fashioned appeal at Casa del Vino, Via del Ariento 16r, situated close to the central market. For lovers of sangria, Sulamanca, Via Gibellina 80, is a Spanish bar that also serves up Spanish food and satellite television.

 

Clubs: Central Park, Via Fosso Macinante, on the outskirts of Florence in Parco delle Cascine, is the place to be seen. Florentines flock here for the latest in music trends, although transport can be difficult for those without a car. Tenax, Via Pratese, in the Peretola district, is one of the most popular discos in town, a favourite with the young crowd. It also stages live concerts. Meccano, Viale degli Olmi 1, is self-consciously hip, while Dolce Zucchero, Via Pandolfini 36, is a small club that quickly fills up with dancers. Villa Kasar, situated on the banks of the Arno, at Lungarno Colombo, is an altogether more upmarket venue, reputed to be the haunt of celebrities, with attention-grabbing prices to match. Soulciety Club, Via San Zanobi, is a little known club that attracts a lively crowd at the weekend. It is a great spot for funk, hip hop and soul. Finally, if your fancy footwork stretches to the samba, head for Maracana, Via Faenza 4, a lively Brazilian themed spot for swinging your hips, or Cabiria, Piazza Santa Spirito, where you can dance to hip hop, jungle and Latin jazz.

 

Live music: Florence does not have a great deal of choice when it comes to live music but you can hear some good sounds at Be Bop, Via dei Servi 76, a cocktail bar specialising in live jazz and rock music. Or you can try The Jazz Club, Via Nuova dei Caccini 3, which serves up live music every Friday and Saturday. The Chiodo Fisso club, Via Dante Alighieri 16r, offers a varied repertoire and is popular with the locals, while anything goes at Caffe Voltaire, Via delle Scala 9r, from poetry readings to salsa dancing. Further out, near the airport, Tenax, Via Pratese 46, has a live music auditorium, which doubles as a dancefloor. Auditorium Flog, Via M Mercati 24b, another student dive in the suburbs, is strong on contemporary young DJs and the Indie scene. If you prefer a smaller club, there is Caffe la Torre, Lungarno Cellini, an American bar where you can hear jazz. At Caffe Girasol, via del Romito 1r, you can dance to Latino music, while Caffe la Torre, Lungarno Cellini, which is famous for its aperitifs, also serves up jazz, blues and Latin beats.

Tourist Information
Azienda di Promozione Turistica (APT)
Via Cavour 1r
Tel: (055) 290 832. Fax: (055) 276 0383.
E-mail: infoturismo@provincia.fi.it
Website: www.firenze.turismo.toscana.it
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 0830-1830 and Sun 0830-1330.

Other branches are located outside the central station, at the airport, at Via Manzoni 16 and in Borgo Santa Croce, near the church.

 

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Getting to Florence

Situated in the northwest of Italy, surrounded by the wine-growing hills of Chianti, the city attracts rapture and frustration in equal proportions.

When's best to visit Florence?

It is best for visitors to avoid the peak summer months of July and August, when the weather can be unbearably sticky and the prospect of trailing around museums becomes unappealing. Early autumn, when the countryside glows with mellow fruitfulness, is the best time to visit, avoiding the heat and the queues and capitalising on the soft light, empty streets and the abundance of wild mushrooms and just-pressed olive oil.