When I went to Florence Italy everyone told me to get as much pizza as possible because the pizza in Italy is unlike anything they've had before. Once I had been in Italy for a few days I started to second guess my friends' food preferences because pizza in Italy comes no where close to Italian paninis. Wake up call: stay in America if you want pizza, go to Florence for a real panini.

Do you ever get annoyed when you go to a deli and it is the same options everyday? In Florence they take their ingredients seriously along with their customer service. An Italian panini is perfect go-to meal for walking around and savoring the culture. 

1. The Ingredients

With your panini you get to choose from the finest selection of meats: Prosciutto, salami, capocollo, finocchiano, or soppressata. The meats are beyond fresh, possibly even butchered from a pig that morning. From fresh arugula (not your mediocre iceberg lettuce) to truffle spread, to creamy burrata, your mouth will be overwhelmed with the amount of satisfaction from the different toppings you can choose from. With an Italian panini you aren't messing around with a spinach tortilla or whole grain bread. You are getting fresh from the oven focaccia.

2. Easy & On-The-Go

When traveling with a short time frame, you don't want to waste time sitting down and eating. You're going to want an equal balance of great quality food and checking off sites from your tour list. Italian paninis provide you with high quality food that are wrapped for you to be able to hold them in one hand and your camera in the other. 

3. The Panini Makers Themselves

In Italy you see a friendly face everywhere you go. Even though some Italians may not speak a lot of English, the panini makers always greet you with a smile. If staying in a city for a long amount of time you're going to see the same people making your sandwich daily.

At Il Cernacchino in Florence, all of the paninis are made by two older women. At Pino's, also located in Florence, all sandwiches are made by the owner himself, Pino. At my ultimate favorite panini place in Florence, All'Antico Vinaio, you can tell the guys who make your sandwich to surprise you with what to put on your sandwich and they'll be more than happy and excited to do this for you. 

4. No Reservation Needed

The worst thing to have happen to you is not making a reservation and having no where to eat. Especially in a foreign country it isn't always the easiest to call up a restaurant and make a reservation, not to mention in Italy they don't normally open restaurants for dinner until 7:00 or 7:30 at night. Walking up to a panini shop is the easiest way to eat without having to stress. Certain places might have a line but it goes by fast. One of my go-to panini places in Florence, Amorino Panini, stays open until 9:00 pm which was super convenient for dinner especially after a day trip. 

5. The Wine

In Italy you can buy a glass of wine for the same amount as a bottle of water. If we're speaking truthfully, the wine is the better deal. At most Italian panini shops a glass of wine is only two to four euros which pairs beautifully with a freshly made panini. In Tuscany they produce chianti wines and in Florence, a glass of the house chianti is always available. In case you're thinking that wine this cheap is the equivalent to Franzia, you're wrong. It won't make you nauseous or remind you of that one time you slapped the bag too many times.

If there is anything I could do right now it would be to get an Italian panini. I guarantee you booking a trip to Florence and trying one of these amazing places will be completely worth the travel.