Summer is coming to Florence and that means a lot of things: busy streets, hot weather, brilliant sunshine and easy living. Millions of people visit Florence annually, and there are many quality drinking holes, and the priceless leisure of sipping from a rooftop bar is one of the benefits for surviving a day swimming through the crowds at museums and pounding the streets under unforgiving heat and humidity.
Not only can you escape some of the stifling summer heat to take in the breeze from the rooftops, you can basque in the stunning views of the city skyline, marvel at the iconic architecture, colors and the gorgeous sunsets. You'll find most rooftop bars are at high-end, boutique or luxury hotels. Many people don't realize that these rooftop bars are usually open to the public, too.
However, many rooftoop bars in Florence bank on their location and rarely provide high quality drinks. The cost is usually outrageous compared to substance, because afterall, you're paying for the view. Well, it doesn't have to be like that. Here are some picks we did some serious research (many didn't make the cut) on where to have the best of both worlds: scenic location with a quality drink to match.
1. Empireo- Located next to Hotel Lucchesi, and also apart of the hotel's rooftop bar program is probably what we'd consider #1 for rooftop bars in Florence. They have a really cool program of live music nights that is included in the fixed price of a drink with access to the buffet (16eu). Starting May 23rd, they will have nightly live music aperitivos starting at 8pm, minus Sundays. I went last year when they launched, the drinks not exactly meet "craft cocktail" standards- but they are fun, seasonal and nicely made. I.e. playing with summer cherries and fresh mint with cherry liqueur-based long drinks. The buffet is more about finger foods that seem a bit on the gourmet side. 360 views of the city are also not bad. Note: reservations are encouraged so you can get a table for the music events. Website: http://www.hotelplazalucchesi.it/en/rooftop-pool Address: Lungarno della Zecca Vecchia, 38 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Hotel La Scaletta- From 3-7, this is a prime place to grab a spritz and while having a panorama of the city. No food besides potato chips and nuts but that is the classic aperitivo. After 7, this spot is dedicated to the the restaurant side. A trusted industry colleague confirms this is a prime spot for a romantic dinner in Florence with a view. Tip: Come a bit early for an aperitivo and book a tiny table for a light dinner to watch the sunset. This hotel bar is located conveniently near Palazzo Pitti in the Oltrarno district, just off the Ponte Vecchio. Website: http://www.hotellascaletta.it/?act=ristorante Address: Via Guicciardini, 13 e-mail: email@example.com
3. La Terrazza Lounge bar at Continentale- Again, a classic aperitivo snack spread of olives, chips and nuts but the cocktails are pretty dependable. It is rather difficult to get both high quality cocktail, food spread and a view all at the same time. The management in charge of the bar program & staff at Fusion bar just downstairs and across the way is also in charge of the Continentale. Locals may already know the drinks at Fusion are spot-on and have a history (and present) of extremely talented barmen. The lounge has a bit of a posh atmosphere- but that's your natural environment, right? Continentale is apart of the Lungarno Collection luxury hotel group so style, service and leisure are points of focus. Combine that with a quality drink and it's a fail-proof simple aperitivo with a view. This rooftop selection offers sweeping views of the Arno River, Brunelleschi's unforgettable Duomo, San Miniato al Monte, Palazzo Vecchio and Forte Belvedere. Address: Hotel Continentale - Vicolo dell'Oro, 6 - Florence Open Daily From 3.30 PM to 11.00 PM Website: http://www.lungarnocollection.com/la-terrazza-lounge-bar
Have you been to any of these rooftop bars? Have any favorites of your own to share? Let us know!