By Laura Mongillo in Florence—
Typically an Italian breakfast consists of fruit juice, espresso or a cappuccino and a delicious flaky soft pastry filled with rich cream, flavorful jam or sinful chocolate. But have you ever wondered how those delectable treats could possibly be ready for the earliest of risers without being stale leftovers from the day before?
Well, Florence has the answer to that very question: hidden late night bakeries! Those tasty treats are baked in very early morning (or the very late night). It’s a rite of passage for anyone returning after a late Florentine night to follow the seductive aroma of baked goods and find themselves in the midst of hot fresh pastries to satisfy their late-night munchies.
Locating these “hidden” bakeries
In the city center there are two bakeries in particular that sell to local coffee shops. However, during their middle-of-the-night operating hours they’ll also sell to individuals. Prices are usually slightly less than at the local coffee place, around 90 cents for a freshly baked treat.
These bakeries will usually start selling their goodies around 1 a.m. and won’t stop selling until early morning, around 4 a.m. You’ll have to stop by to be sure, but it’s worth it!
These bakeries don’t have signs or even have names (that we’re aware of). Here’s where to find them:
1. Secret Bakery near Santa Croce
Via del Canto Rivolto
The first bakery is a little hard to find despite its central location near Santa Croce and the nightlife of Via dei Benci. The easiest way to find it is to walk along Via dei Neri which leads from Palazzo Vecchio towards the Santa Croce area, and turn onto Via delle Brache. Take this quiet empty street and on your left you’ll find a miniscule street called Via del Canto Rivolto. Near the corner you’ll find an opaque glass door and the smell will assure that you’re in the right place.
If there are others waiting, wait until the baker comes out with pastries before you place your order. If there is no one waiting, feel free to knock to place your order.
Sweet offerings include croissants, either plain or filled with cream, chocolate or jam. Savory options include small pizzas. Trust me, no matter what you choose, your stomach will be happy!
2. Secret Bakery near Piazza Indipendenze
Corner of Via delle Ruote and Via San Gallo
The other late-night bakery is found on the other side of town, near Piazza Indipendenza, in a residential area sprinkled with hotels and B&B’s. You’ll find it on the Via delle Ruote at the corner of Via San Gallo. The entrance is small and easy to miss, but the groups of people eating outside should tip you off.
The selection here varies depending on the day and time you arrive, but there are cornetti with various fillings, sfogliatine (a clam-shaped sugar-coated pastry with different fillings) and small pizzas. The only downside is that this bakery doesn’t open until 3 a.m., so you’d have to have a really late night out to be able to enjoy these pastries.
So when your night out in Florence gets late on you, keep these bakeries in mind for a sweet little treat before heading to bed!