Things to Do>Florence, Italy>Secret Places>

No one wants to be left in the dark, right? Well maybe the dark is the right place to start. Here we are talking about secret places to find in Italy and some of the best places can only be found in the dark.

Let’s start with Secret Bakeries. If you haven’t already heard, Florence has five “secret bakeries” sprinkled throughout town. These hole-in-the-wall kitchens pull late-night street wanderers in as they bake throughout the night and deliver their goods to cafés around town for morning customers. It is a great end to any night out on the town. Some even set their alarms for the middle of the night, go get the baked goods, eat them, and go back to bed. If this doesn’t show “how worth it” it is to experience the secrecy of these bakeries, then I am not sure what will.


line to the bakery

Experienced goers say 1:30-1:45 AM is when most open. This is the perfect time to seek out the bakeries because you’ll receive freshly baked croissants, donuts, or pastries that are still warm. Arriving at this time may also avoid the crowds that swarm many doors at 2:00 AM due to bars closing and young adults returning to their right state of minds reminding themselves that they need sleep… and maybe a croissant too.

Flustered thinking about what to do when you get to the door? It is a simple and amusing process for many. The first rule to secret bakery is you must be quiet. These bakers do not want every to know about their “secret bakery” and also do not want to wake those sleeping in apartments nearby. Once you arrive at the door where you can see faint lights and smell the smells of heaven, you know you are at the right place and may knock. There’s no special knock, but it may take a few tries. Soon a man, who may have some combination of an apron, hat, or white shirt, will open the door and either ask what you want (in Italian) or wait for you to order. Most people practice their Italian (making their Italian professors proud) and ask for “un Cornetto con crema” or “con nutella.” I have once experienced a baker say, “We only have donuts or pizza.” Funny statement though because who would be disappointed with those choices? The baker will shut the door and return with a few white paper bags. After handing the bags over, he will ask for a few euros depending on what you ordered. The running rate is usually 1 euro per baked good. It is common courtesy to bring exact change, no 20 or 50 bills. Once you have your treat of choice in hand, you should keep walking to your next destination to avoid crowds around the bakery.

the glow of the doors

the glow of the doors

Some say, “Smell your way to the bakeries, you’ll find them.” Sometimes it’s harder than it sounds… this is known from experience. Here are some directions for you to start your adventures:

Florence’s Secret Bakeries:

  1. Pasticceria Vinci & Bongini {Santa Croce}-Walk down Via dei Benci towards the river, making a right onto Pizza Peluzzi. Quiet down as you make the first left then first right onto Via del Canto Rivalto. You’ll know you arrived when you see the post-bar crowd crowded around a sliding glass door that reads “Please be quiet”. If you’re the first one there knock softly on the door until a {most likely gruff} baker appears and order in Italian {try a Cornetta con Nutella}.
  2. Laboratoria di Pasticceria Arrighi {Pizza dell’Indipendenza/SMN Train Station}-On the corner of via delle Ruote and via San Gallo. Read the review on Studentsville.
  3. Il Re della Foresta {Piazza Giorgini}-Outside the city center, this hole in the wall supposedly serves up some of the best bombolonein Florence. Read the review on Studentsville.
  4. The {Truly Secret} Bakery {Santa Croce}-Facing the Santa Croce, take the street directly to the left of the church and make the first left onto Via delle Pinzochere. The bakery will be on your right but be extremely quiet and respectful or they will not serve you.
  5. The {Truly Secret} Family Bakery {Santa Croce}– Facing Santa Croce, take the street directly to the left of the church and make the third left onto Via de’ Macci. The bakery will be on your left and the door is covered by caged bars. You can see into the back where they bake and after a wave or two they’ll come open the door. Again be extremely quiet and respectful or they won’t serve you.

For more secret places to visit in Florence click here.

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