There’s a variety of things that are going on in Italy at the moment. From the increase in cases of COVID (mostly brought out by an intense level of testing), the protesting on EXR at the Italian energy company in Rome, and the news that Porta Venezia in Milan is one of the coolest areas to be in 2020, taking out Florence’s San Frediano, on Time Out, there are definitely a variety of things to talk about when it comes to Italian news. But I have the story that everybody coming to Italy needs. The story that all of you are interested in. A story regarding Antico Vinaio, that amazing panini spot in Florence, that opened up all over the world, from L.A. to Milan.

If you’ve visited Florence in the past, you know there’s a street that connects Piazza Signoria to Piazza Santa Croce, it’s got a bit of a curve to it, and it’s mostly pedestrian. The street name is Via de’ Neri, and if you can’t visualize it based on my great directions above, you might recognize the street by the massive lines of people around lunch and dinner time. All of the people there would be in line to grab one of the most renowned paninis in Florence, the schiacciata of Antico Vinaio. I mean now you’ve got people on massive queues in L.A. as well, it’s pretty crazy.

antico vinaio
Pic by Tibor Janosi Mozes during a slow moment at the Antico Vinaio, Pixabay

Anyway, the big news is that they will be closing two of their three historical locations in Via de’ Neri. Don’t worry though they are only relocating to other parts of the city center. With one location near the Train Station in Santa Maria Novella by 2021, and another in Piazza San Marco by 2022. The expansion will be great, and the city will be overrun by hot panini.

Why is the Antico Vinaio moving?

The main reason seems to be that the street is becoming overcrowded, this was a problem for the city even before the COVID outbreak. If we think about a city council law passed last year, the city had local police patrol the area so they wouldn’t sit on the floor and eat, while also hosing down the stairs of Santa Croce, because of the overcrowded stairs during the day. Why did they think that a good idea? I have no idea. But they thought it was a decent thing to do.

antico vinaio
Not exactly a panino, but still from the Antico Vinaio. Thanks Kent Wang

Personally, I believe there is another reason for the move, with the past lockdown, I saw an increase in the council’s decisions regarding infrastructural renovations, from streets to water distribution. These renovations usually mean blocking up whole streets for months up to a whole year. Via de’ Neri is definitely a street that is going to need a revamp sooner or later, and with Antico Vinaio having all three of its locations there at the first renovation you would have chaos and also a massive drop of income for the panini masters.

But, anyway, if you get a chance to come back and you’re jonesing for a nice Panini don’t worry cause you’ll get a chance to enjoy a Antico Vinaio sandwich all around the city.

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