Florence is one of my favorite cities, and not just because of the food. The Duomo, or the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, is easily the most beautiful building in all of Florence and, in my opinion, one of the most breathtaking in the world.  I mean, look at the detail!

Alexandra Tringali

I studied abroad (and vacationed!) in Florence for about five weeks earlier this summer, and absolutely fell in love with the city. Growing up in an Italian household, I learned how to cook and bake in traditional Italian ways with true Italian flavors and ingredients. With that being said, eating in Florence was like eating at my own kitchen table.

However, on the rare occasions I allowed a recommendation from an Instagram account to decide where I ate, I was always disappointed. These "travel" foodie accounts usually lead me to restaurants with options that were reminiscent of Olive Gardens. In other words, fettuccine Alfredo and chicken Parmigiano were on the menus. Most of the restaurants were also located in the area of my beloved Duomo.

The Duomo is located in the center of Florence, where tourists and locals alike stroll in and out of shops and small side streets, taking pictures, playing music, basking in all that Tuscany has to offer (or eating all that Tuscany has to offer). Because of this central location, there are so many good places to eat, but it can be hard to choose, and hard to tell what is authentic or not.

After indulging in as much pasta as my heart desired and gelato at least twice a day, almost every day, I think I have the credibility to say I know where you have to eat in Florence, and where you have to avoid. The following 12 places are the best restaurants near Flroence's Duomo for those of you who are looking for a true Italian dining experience. 

La Strega Nocciola

ice, beer, chocolate
Alexandra Tringali

I had to kick off this roundup with the best gelato in the world. La Strega Nocciola's gelato is so creamy and flavorful that I had it twice a day my entire time in Florence. It's down a small side street right next to the Duomo, so you can eat your gelato with a view. My favorite flavors were Nocciola, Bignolosa, and Buontalenti.

Walking Distance from Duomo: 2 minutes 

Mercato Centrale

Think of an indoor Smorgasburg with permanent stands, and that's Mercato Centrale. The first level is loaded with fruit vendors, butchers, and wine sellers, while upstairs is a giant food hall with some of the best pasta, pizza, and cannoli in Florence. My favorite spot was Sud - La Pizzeria by Stefano Callegari. All of his pizzas are delicious!

Walking Distance from Duomo: 6 minutes

La Giostra

While I tend to avoid touristy spots as much as I can, La Giostra was recommended so many times that I just had to check it out, and I was glad I did. Their spinach ravioli was so delicious, and the restaurant itself is incredibly unique. It used be a storage location for an old carousel from the 1700s.

Walking Distance from Duomo: 7 minutes


cream, ice cream, ice
Alexandra Tringali

Edoardo was by far the most recommended gelato spot in Florence, because of its great gelato and even better homemade cones. Their gelato is all organic (with vegan flavors available), and my favorite flavor was white wine.

Walking Distance from Duomo: 3 minutes

Osteria De Benci

I heard about this place in the winter while interning at Saveur Magazine. This article showcased their Spaghetti dell'Ubriacone (drunken spaghetti), which is pasta cooked in red wine. It was unique in flavor and the wine was surprisingly not overpowering. This was definitely one of my more memorable meals!

Walking Distance from Duomo: 12 minutes

Trattoria 4 Leoni

pasta, cream, cheese, ravioli, sauce, tortellini
Alexandra Tringali

I've never heard of so many pear and pasta combinations as I did while in Florence. I was a bit skeptical at first, but Trattoria 4 Leoni changed that for me. Their pear tortelli was one of my favorite experiences. It was so delicious, and it opened my eyes to a whole new flavor combinations that marry surprisingly well. Make a reservation so you definitely can get a table.

Walking Distance from Duomo: 12 minutes

All'Antico Vinaio

I found this spot from my time at Saveur as well, and I was also tipped off by friends that this was the best sandwich they have ever had. Turns out, this is actually considered to be the World's Best Sandwich, and honestly, it is. I had the summer sandwich, with prosciutto, basil, tomato, and mozzarella and it was fabulous.

Walking Distance from Duomo: 8 minutes

Cantinetta Antinori

Cantinetta Antinori was actually my first stop in Florence for a light afternoon meal. It's a wonderful little wine bar with incredible olive oil and great pastas. I loved the traditional Panzonella salad – bread, basil, and tomatoes drowned in olive oil. What more could you want?

Walking Distance from Duomo: 5 minutes

Pizzeria Spera

mozzarella, pizza
Alexandra Tringali

I admit, this spot is a little further from the Duomo, but I had to include it. This pizza place was recommended by locals, and when I went in I found no tourists in sight. Their pizzas are everything I wanted pizzas in Italy to be, in a small basement restaurant in a less touristy spot. It's about a 15-minute walk from downtown Florence, but barely a 10-minute cab drive. They have a menu that practically doesn't end, with countless pizza toppings.

Walking Distance from Duomo: 20 minutes

Trattoria Sostanza

Trattoria Sostanza had probably one of the simplest dishes I had in Florence, but by far the best. The Tortellini in Brodo is a traditional Florentine dish consisting of chicken and tomato-based broth with tortellini stuffed with prosciutto, basil, and ricotta cheese. Make a reservation for this spot, otherwise you'll face long waits. 

Walking Distance from Duomo: 10 minutes

Winter Garden

dairy product, chocolate mousse, cream, mousse, chocolate
Alexandra Tringali

I feel like I've said this about every place on this list, but my dinner at Winter Garden was one of the best meals – from start to finish – that I had in Florence. A Michelin star restaurant, Winter Garden is located in the St. Regis hotel, a little less than 10 minutes from the Duomo. My friend and I ordered so many dishes that were all so fabulous, you can't go wrong with anything on the menu.

Walking Distance from Duomo: 13 minutes

Trattoria Zàzà

Again, I tried to avoid tourist spots, but found myself at Trattoria Zaza twice while in Florence. The food here is consistently delicious and well prepared, and accessible to everyone. They have traditional Florentine dishes sitting next to dishes more familiar to tourists and visitors, and their central location makes it even better. I loved their pasta with porcini mushrooms and highly recommend ordering it yourself. 

Walking Distance from Duomo: 6 minutes

You can't go wrong eating in Italy, whether you're dining the Michelin star way or following in the footsteps of every tour group in Tuscany. No matter which restaurants near Florence's Duomo you choose, you're going to get a delicious meal made with the finest Italian ingredients. And, it's even better when you have a view of one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Here, have another look:

Alexandra Tringali