You don’t have to spend a lot in Florence to eat well. There are plenty of affordable meals and snacks to be had if you know where to look. This past weekend, I returned to ‘ino, a paninoteca and specialty food shop I visit religiously on each trip to Florence. There, sandwiches are made to order from fine cheeses and salumi. We tried one with mortadella and provola di bufala (provolone made with buffalo’s milk) and another called “Il Solito” (the usual) filled with soft pecorino, prosciutto, tomato, and olive paste. At 8 euros each, they are not the cheapest sandwiches in town, but may be some of the best, and they come with a complimentary glass of wine or beer.
Caught in the rain and desperate for some caffeine and a savory breakfast, we ducked into Cantinetta Verrazzano completely by accident. This was quite a lucky turn of events as this caffe’ and bakery makes amazing cappuccino and baked goods. We grabbed a table at the back near the focaccia oven and drank two frothy cappuccinos with focaccine for under 2.50 euros each. If you get there before noon as we did, you can sit at one of the tables free of charge. During lunch, a service charge is applied.
For a quick, cheap slice of focaccia head to Pugi, another bakery where slices of flat bread with various toppings are sold in a tiny storefront next to the bus stop in Piazza San Marco. It is a convenient place for a snack if you are headed to the Accademia or to the Museo di San Marco. Pugi also makes quite a nice range of desserts, including biscottini and schiacciata.