My 5 Favorite Places in Santa Croce
I’ve been in Italy for just about two months now. Over that period of time, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my new neighborhood, Santa Croce Florence, alone and with my roommates. It took a while, but I can now orient myself and get to the places that matter (A.K.A everywhere on this list). There’s a million shops and restaurants on every street; but so far, these are the places I’ve made a part of my weekly routine.
- La Fettunta
We had a walking tour guided by FUA on one of our first days here. Tired, hungry, and confused, we asked the guide for some food recommendations. She recommended a sandwich place called La Fettunta, and I wrote it down, thinking nothing of it. One day, I was running between two classes and was absolutely starving. I wanted to try the famous All’Antico Vinaio, but the line was down the block, and I would definitely have been very, very late if I attempted to stop there. I noticed La Fettunta and recognized the name from the recommendation. There was no line, it looked welcoming, so I popped in to try it. A few days later, I finally did get to try All’Antico Vinaio, and I have to say, I think La Fettunta is better. For 5 euros, I built my own sandwich consisting of zucchini, eggplant, prosciutto, mozzarella, tomatoes, and truffle spread, all on giant, perfectly toasted and oiled bread. It was huge, and I had half left over for later. I’ve been back about 4 times since, and I’m never disappointed. Just a few minutes from Piazza di Santa Croce, taking my sandwich to eat there in the sun has become a weekly routine.
- Gelateria de Neri
I discovered this gelato shop on a free food tour guided by a Florence student travel company ( discover the complete list of Gelaterie in Florence), and it quickly became my favorite gelato place. It’s only about a 5 minute walk from my apartment, which is a perfect distance away to satisfy gelato cravings at any time of the day. I get to walk through the Piazza di Santa Croce on my way here, which is just another reason I love going there. The gelato is creamy, thick, sweet, and there’s a plethora of flavors to choose from. Each time I’ve gone, I’ve tried to experiment with new flavor combos, and my favorite is banana and Nutella together. The rich, thickness of the chocolate flavor mixes well with the banana. Just writing about it now is making me crave it, and I think I’ll be stopping for some on my way home this evening. I cringe a little every time I spend more money on food, but never with gelato.
- Aperitivo at Ganzo — AperiGanzo
My roommates and I quickly learned about the Italian concept of Aperitivo, and we love it. Sitting around chatting with friends, eating appetizers, and drinking wine… What’s there not to love? On Wednesday nights at Ganzo, they offer all-you-can-eat appetizers and one drink for only 5 euros. You can stay as long as you want and eat as much as you want. They even offer dessert, but we didn’t know this the first time we went. My roommates and I went one night when we didn’t have any power and were sick of spending excess amounts of money on food, so we decided to give this a try, and we were not disappointed. The drink line took about 30 minutes, but it was worth it because the drink was fruity, fun, and refreshing in this Florence “autumn.” FUA students and faculty were seen everywhere, in addition to other people unaffiliated with the school. The restaurant was so crowded, with barely any room to move. As soon as a dish was brought out, everyone flocked to it like vultures, devouring the food. The waitstaff was extremely efficient in refilling the dishes almost immediately. Small, assorted sandwiches, pesto pasta, rice balls, salmon, chickpea salad, tomato salad, chicken, prosciutto, cheeses, tomatoes, and cucumbers were offered, just to name a few things. Aperiganzo is the perfect place to socialize, eat, and stay on budget!
- Il Gatto e la Volpe
This was the first place my roommates and I went together for dinner on our first night here. Wandering around Santa Croce, still jet-lagged, disoriented, and confused, we stumbled into the first place we saw that looked authentic and Italian. The first meal I had in Florence was, naturally, pizza. I got the simplest thing on the menu to play it safe— a Margherita pizza, and I was not disappointed. The portion was huge— they gave each of us our own personal pizzas dripping in piping hot and gooey cheese. The crust was perfectly light and crisp. It was the perfect start to our time in Florence. I definitely will be going back here to explore more of the menu.
- Tre Merli Caffe
This little cafe is located right near my apartment and is the perfect place to stop on my way to early classes. It offers cheap, basic Italian breakfast foods that are great to take to go (even though apparently that’s frowned upon here). The chocolate croissants are my favorite, with the chocolate melting perfectly when they warm it up. I have yet to expand past the croissants and pastries here, but they also offer basic sandwiches that always look great for a quick and easy lunch during a busy day.
Looking for a place to stay near Florence? Check out a wide range of hotels Santa Croce Firenze and student flats that have all been reviewed by Studentsville staff. You’re sure to find something that suits you perfectly, whatever your budget!