Head to these open-air spots for a sundowner at aperitivo hour
1. THREE SIXTY AT THE GRAND HOTEL MINERVA
Best for: where new meets old
Over in Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, home to the first great basilica in Florence where Giotto’s Crucifix hangs, is the Grand Hotel Minerva. The contemporary hotel overlooks the historic piazza below but upstairs the roof has a 360-degree terrace with city-skyline views of the biggest sites in Florence. Soak up the sunset to the west and the ringing bells of the Duomo to the east while snacking on typical bruschetta and drinking Prosecco. There is a pool, reserved just for hotel guests, but it only adds to the fun atmosphere and striking backdrop.
2. LA TERRAZZA BAR AT THE HOTEL CONTINENTALE
Best for: 1950s chic
We’ve previously named La Terrazza as one of the best rooftop bars in the world, and there are plenty of reasons why. Sitting atop the 13th-century medieval tower of the grown-up Hotel Continentale, the rooftop space feels like a retro Italian cinema at the hands of Florentine architect Michele Bonan. There’s an unobstructed view of the Arno and the bobbing heads of the Ponte Vecchio, and it’s the perfect spot to order a crisp Martini-based cocktail – such as the Americano Patrizio, made with Martini Bitter Riserva, Martini Rubino, Chinotto and citrus bitters – from some of the city’s best mixologists.
3. B-ROOF AT HOTEL BAGLIONI
Best for: a long lunch
To feel like you’re on the same level as the rest of the city, head to B-Roof at Hotel Baglioni. The rooftop is split into sections where guests can opt for a long lazy lunch indoors (windows are floor to ceiling so views aren’t obstructed) or head to the American Roof Bar, a lush wrought-iron seating area covered in vine-y greenery and blossoming plants. Drinks range from tart pisco sours to local wines by the glass and if you fancy more than a snack, head indoors for crispy courgette flowers stuffed with nutty pecorino and pici cacio e pepe with tarragon cream. Pro tip: from Wednesdays to Saturdays the aperitivo is accompanied by live music.
Tip: Go on September 18th for a private concert by Naomi Rivieccio, who literally drove the audience and the judges of the last edition of X Factor Italy to an all time high. Reservation is mandatory: click here to buy your ticket!
4. DIVINA TERRAZZA AT GRAND HOTEL CAVOUR
Best for: punchy cocktails and a knockout view
The Grand Hotel Cavour is rooted right in the centre of the city, and up on the 6th floor is an intimate spot where the barmen will advise what to order. Brunelleschi’s Duomo is practically within spitting distance and the majestic Palazzo Vecchio stands tall from this vantage point. Come here for an early aperitivo, or for after-dinner digestifs, when the music gets louder and the drinks get stronger. A long list of cocktails includes a frothy fresh peach Bellini, or choose from an extensive wine list including a silky rosso vino from Tuscan Villa Antinori.
5. LOGGIA ROOF BAR AT THE HOTEL PALAZZO GUADAGNI
Best for: feeling at one with the locals
Blink and you’ll miss this gem of a hotel in the Oltrarno down near locals’ haven Piazza Santo Spirito. It’s a former Renaissance palazzo that exudes the style and character of a modern-day Room with a View and, interiors are true to the original building, with a grand entrance hall, pietra-stone stairwell and vast open archways. Head up to the top floor where the relaxed Loggia Bar serves up views from Bellosguardo Tower to the Boboli Gardens and the Basilica di Santo Spirito. The rooftop feels almost Moroccan with its antique lanterns, botanical greenery and rattan seating, but step back outside and you’ll find weekly farmers markets and tiny family-run hole-in-the-wall trattorias that are pure Florence.
6. SE-STO ON ARNO AT THE WESTIN EXCELSIOR
Best for: a sleek aperitivo
Part of the Westin Excelsior, this is more of a sit-down restaurant than a busy bar. The hotel is in the quieter west of Florence, just back from the Arno next to Piazza Ognissanti (local tip: Ghirlandaio’s Last Supper fresco is located in the chiesa di Ognissanti , and predates Da Vinci’s). There are panoramic views of the historic city and the floor to ceiling glass walls of the main restaurant make it feel like you’re almost outside, while there are also two open-air terraces Prices are at the higher end, but come for golden hour and order from a drinks menu listing all the classics, such as a sunset-orange spritz, bubbles by the glass and wines from around the region. Order some light bites as well – perhaps cured Cinta Senese ham and crumbly Italian cheese from Siena.