Can you really have a trip to Florence without snacking on a panini at least once? Probably not—just like a cheese platter filled with chunks of pecorino drizzled with honey, or a glass of Chianti, panini (panino in the singular) are an essential cultural element. But where can you find the best panini in Florence?
Chances are you have already heard about the paninoteca in Florence, All’Antico Vinaio, and we’ll tell you it is good. But is it worth waiting in the line that reaches down the street and circles all around the piazza? Honestly, no.
Take it from us, you can skip this one and make your way to some other fantastic panini shops where locals still frequent.
What Makes a Good Panino, Anyway?
It may be less about the shop, and more about the quality ingredients, but luckily Tuscany—and Italy overall—has a lot of those.
Many shops will have a menu, but also will allow you to pick and choose, making your own sandwich. The general rule of thumb: keep it simple but delicious with salumi, a cheese, a vegetable, and just a little something sott’olio—in oil—or a sauce to balance the textures.
You’ll normally have these served between a delicious schiacciata, a Tuscan focaccia-like bread.
If you are feeling really adventurous, you can always try the local specialty, lampredotto. While this word translates to “lamprey” in English, it’s actually made from the cow’s stomach!
The Panino Tradition
Grabbing a panino in Florence is a timeless tradition. A quick lunch that can be enjoyed between museum visits, appointments, work breaks, you name it. It is usually enjoyed with an easy glass of wine perched on a stool outside the shop, or leaning against the wall.
So let’s discover where you can take part in this tradition and find the best panini in Florence!
Where to Get the Best Panini in Florence
I Due Fratellini
Find this fantastic hole-in-the-wall panino shop just around the corner from Piazza della Repubblica on Via dei Cimatori. This little spot has just enough space to fit the two brothers who give the place its name, ready to whip you up a delicious panino.
This particular panino shop has been here since 1875, so you’ll truly be stepping into a Florentine tradition. Here you can choose a glass of your choice from the wine bottle-lined walls, or opt for a quick spritz.
This paninoteca does offer an already prepared menu to choose from, but don’t be afraid to ask to swap something around.
Casa del Vino
Though it’s actually one of our favorite wine bars in Florence, Casa del Vino happens to also make great panini. If you happen to be wandering towards the station or through the Central Market, hop in here for a very affordable glass of fine wine and a delicious panino.
Here they have a ready-set menu for you to choose from—we say try out the sausage and stracchino cheese option, which is one of the best!
One of the best of classic Florentine panini, all of the fillings at this spot are cooked from scratch in house. Rather than a simple salumi and cheese pairing, here you can enjoy hot sausage, stewed meat, wild boar ragus, and much more.
These freshly cooked fillings really bring you a whole different experience than the classic panini—something heartier and more filling.
Semel (Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 44/r) is loved by locals and visitors alike, and of course, they’ll always have a glass of wine for you as well!
The perfect lunch for when you are visiting Florence’s favorite historic figure: Dante Aligheri! You’ll find this little paninoteca right around the corner from his house-turned-museum.
Something many notice about Da Vinattieri (Via Santa Margherita, 4/6r) is the schiacciata is actually served warm, quite different from many other paninoteche. This alone could make it stand out as one of the best panini in Florence, but there’s even more to enjoy!
Da Vinattieri does have a menu, and it is truly a creative one, always adding a burst of taste. Some examples include their panino with sopressata, ricotta, and oranges; porchetta and truffle cream; and scamorza (a provola-type cheese), zucchini, and pesto cream. These are just a few, but everything on the menu is really bursting with flavor!
Here there are a few seats out front if you want to grab a quick seat. Otherwise, take your panino for a walk and grab a seat in your favorite scenic corner of Florence’s city center.
Antico Salumificio Anzuini
When looking for the best panini in Florence, look for the best ingredients. And that is exactly what you will find here at Antico Salumificio Anzuini.
This is one of the best panini in Florence because they themselves produce all the salumi and cured meats right in house, so you know you’re getting some of the best fillings.
Here you can choose to go with the classic schiacciata or just a bread roll and pick your fillings as you wish. If a cold sandwich doesn’t sound like it hits the spot, they also serve up their own sausage and burgers.
You can grab a seat at one of the few stools inside, or sit down at a sunny table out front and enjoy watching Florence street life wander by.
An Italy local for nearly 10 years, Evelyn has traveled to nearly every region getting overly excited about cute doors and nonni cafes. She’s an archaeology and art history major who fell in love with Italian wine, getting her Sommelier and Italian Wine Scholar certifications. She’s transformed her passion for La Bel Paese into a travel planning and relocation consultancy with Colline Alle Montagne. You’ll find her on Instagram @collinemontagne, always sipping a glass of wine and sharing the authentic life in Italy.