Florence: Buy your wine like the locals… on tap!

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If you happen upon some wine taps while in Florence, grab a jug and start filling! Photo: achimh.
If you happen upon some wine taps while in Florence, grab a jug and start filling! Photo: achimh.

By Taylor Zerbey—

Florence is a wine lover’s paradise, offering amazing wines from all over Tuscany and Italy at low prices that could even shock a Cheapo. One way to enjoy wine and beer at even cheaper prices is to buy it like the locals do, “alla Spina” (on tap) or “vino sfuso” (wine in bulk or loose).

Simply show up with empty bottles or boxes and fill them up with the wine of your choice. It’s typically cheaper than buying a bottle in the supermarket and, most importantly, the wines are of high quality and integrity.

Here are five places I recommend for filling up with wine on tap in Florence:

Beer in Florence

Beer might not be synonymous with Florence, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy a cold one from tap on the Piazza della Repubblica. Photo: gga.

Enoteca Alla Sosta dei Papi
Via Borgo La Croce, 81r
Neighborhood: Sant’Ambrogio

Located right down the road from Sant’Ambrogio market, this enoteca is a perfect place to fill up on wine after you get your groceries from the market. They offer six or seven wines on tap, almost all from local family-owned wineries. Their most inexpensive red wine is a Montepulciano, at €2.60/liter, while their most popular is the Montalcino for €3.30/liter.

If you are looking for a basic red wine, I would recommend one of their “table” wines: the Rosso Toscano Chianti and the Nero d’Avola (Sicilian), both for €2.80/liter. My personal favorite so far is their Chardonnay for €2.70/liter.

One of the special aspects of this enoteca is that you can organize little (or big) “Apericena” events here. For about €15 a person, you can choose a wine and eat from a buffet of local Tuscan specialties, like local meats and cheeses, bruschetta and other goodies.

Fattoria San Michele a Torri
Via dell’Agnolo, 101
Neighborhood: Santa Croce

Fattoria San Michele a Torri offers a smaller selection of wine on tap, but the wines are all from grapes that are biologiche (organic). I am obsessed with their Merlot (€3.50/liter), but their red and white table wines are also amazing (€2.40/liter).

I would also recommend buying your bread here. Although it is a bit more expensive than what you will find at the supermarket, it is well worth the extra euro. Baked in a wood fired oven, the loaves taste great with local cheeses (which you can also buy here).

San Michele is where all my friends from this neighborhood go to get wine—it’s always packed with locals, a great sign.

I Vinaio
Via delle Carra, 16
Neighborhood: Piazza S. Jacopino

I Vinaio an itsy bitsy little wine and beer shop on Via delle Carre, near Piazza San Jacopino. The wines on tap cost around €2- €5 a bottle and all come from Tuscany or Sicily. I bought a red “Morello” that was amazing for only €3 here.

Unlike most wine stores in Florence, this store also carries a wide selection of artisan beer. Though there is no beer on tap, their prices for bottled specialty beer are not extraordinarily high, so it’s easy enough to come and try a couple from their selection to find one you really like. The owners are very knowledgeable, so if you are unsure of what to try, just ask them and they will help you select the perfect wine or beer to fit your tastes. If you are in the mood for something bubbly, they also have prosecco on tap, how amazing is that?!

Wine vats Italy

Vini sfusi will often come in vats like these. Talk about “wine in bulk!” Photo: j dughi.

Vigna Vittoria
Via Fabroni Giovanni, 14R
Neighborhood: Piazza S. Jacopino

The superstore!  Vigna Vittoria has a huge selection of wine on tap. What makes this place great is their extensive selection of wines from all around Italy, not just Tuscany. White wines from Venice, Liguria, red wines from Piedmont, Puglia, Sardinia etc. and prices that are very affordable. (Basic red/white table wines start at €1.20/liter.)

Plan on coming here when you have lots of time—preferably in the morning or late evenings when it is least busy—so that you will have a chance to talk with a staff member about their selection.

BVeg
Via degli Orti Oricellari, 6
Neighborhood: Santa Maria Novella Station

Not only does Bveg offer some of the best vegetarian food in Florence, but this little bistro has a great selection of beer, hence the name B(eer)Veg(etarian). They have about six beers on tap, all of which are exclusively from Italian breweries.

I recommend the Brewfist Jale, but if you are unsure of what you want, sit at the bar and—if it isn’t too busy—the bartender will let you sample a couple of beers. An average-sized beer costs around €5 and if you come after 7 p.m. they offer a small aperitivo: a selection of delicious little finger foods (some of which are made using the beer!).

This is a place to come and enjoy a glass of beer or wine with friends in a tranquil atmosphere—with great music and free Wi-Fi too!

About the author

Living full time in Florence since May of 2010, Taylor Zerbey, a freelance photographer and writer, is in constant awe of the Italian way of life; be it for their no nonsense attitude about eating top quality food and wine, their penchant for enjoying life or their impartial attitude towards public urination. Taylor is a 2007 graduate of The University of Hawai?i at M?noa, earning a Bachelor's degree in Photography.

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3 thoughts on “Florence: Buy your wine like the locals… on tap!”

  1. I love this blog, and have been using it everyday that I have been in Florence. I felt it worth mentioning that some fluffy haired guy at Enoteca Alla Sosta dei Papi, was a real jerk.
    We strolled by, and saw the place filled with a few people drinking & laughing. The door was locked, and we then noticed it was closed until 4 pm. No prob, we turned to walk away. Fluffy head proceeded to tap on the window, and say “Hi” in a mocking tone. At first my husband thought he was going to open the door, but instead he threw up his hands and said “we are closed” and shrugged. He then chuckled, and it certainly appeared that he was enjoying making fun of the Americans.
    Good for him that he does not need our money, and is so impressed with his 2 buck chuck , spicket skills.

    Luckily we had found a mom & pop establishment a block away prior to seeing this place. This respectful gentle couple was so helpful, and tolerant of our lack of experience.
    Some of the younger service people in this city are just plain rude. I promise, I am not an affluent, loud, entitled “Ugly American”, but apparently not “cool enough” to patronize Enoteca Alla Sosta dei Papi

    Reply
    1. Ciao Marie!

      I am glad you like the blog and are enjoying Firenze! Sorry to hear about your strange experience at the Enoteca. Sometimes people can be weird, but it seemed like it all worked out for you in the end. I recently discovered dining at the “Gastronomia”, which is a place where you can find homestyle cooking that reflects the local cuisine. The cool thing about these places is that the food is displayed right in front of you and you can pick and choose from the dishes to make a plate lunch of whatever you want. These places are normally a little cheaper than a restaurant and I recommend going for lunch. My new favorite gastronomia is located in Piazza della Liberta’ and it’s called L’Affresco. It’s super cute and a total local hotspot. There is also free WiFi and yummy Illy coffee.

      Keep us updated on your Cheapo discoveries in Florence !

      Reply
      1. Thanks Taylor I will try this L’Affresco tomorrow!
        I filled my wine bottles at Bacco Nudo Vini Sfusi, on Via de Macci 59/61. Spent 6€ for 2 bottles. Really enjoyed the Pinot Grigio. As I mentioned prior, the hospitality of the owners was exceptional.

        Take care

        Reply

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