Come to the dark side of the Florentine streets: they’ve got much more than cookies. Stop by one of these secret bakeries in Florence to indulge your sweet tooth after dark.
During long midnight walks through the Tuscan capital, you might catch an angelic smell. Freshly baked bread, it seems, and melted butter, and… what is that, some sort of chocolate scent?
Don’t panic: you’re not on the verge of a psychological breakdown. Even if Stendhal syndrome seems to be unique to Florence, this condition has nothing to do with mysterious scents. The truth is that you’ve found a secret bakery: not a sweet dream, but a delicious reality.
What Is a Secret Bakery?
No magic word is required to access the secret bakeries, even if they do seem to pop up out of nowhere only in the middle of the night.
In fact, Florence’s secret bakeries are not secret at all. They’re simply wholesale bakeries that sell their deliciousness to coffee shops and bars, since many are too small to have a kitchen of their own onsite.
Needless to say that, in order to deliver their baked treasures first thing in the morning in time for breakfast, these bakeries have to work through the night. They usually start baking at around 1 a.m.
(Plus, their scent is so strong that they really couldn’t stay secret for long.)
How to Visit a Secret Bakery in Florence
Café owners are not the only ones to have the privilege of buying these delightful pastries. Any night owl is welcome to order them, too.
There’s no menu to guide you during your choice, so be sure to have a clear mind about what to order once your turn has come. Remember that Florentine bakers are hard at work, and they don’t have the time for indecision. Choose any baked good you want, thinking in terms of items that you could usually order with your espresso in the morning, from a sweet cornetto to a savory schiacciatina.
If you still can’t decide, have a peek inside the bakery and let your sweet tooth take the lead.
Visiting Florence’s Secret Bakeries: Top Tips & Helpful Vocabulary
There are two main tips when it comes to secret bakeries:
- Be quiet: It’s the middle of the night and people are sound asleep in their beds. Trust us when we say that you don’t want to deal with an angry fiorentino.
- Speak Italian: You’re dealing with bakers working night shifts—not the most relaxing job you can find. So, try to be as kind as possible, and not jump straight into speaking English. Even a few words in careful Italian will be greatly appreciated.
Need to brush up on your Italian baking vocabulary? Here’s our little guide.
If you like your baked goods on the savory side, you can have:
- Una schiacciata: Plain pizza dough with lots of salt;
- Una pizzetta: A mini pizza with a variety of delicious toppings
If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t go wrong with one of the below:
- Un cornetto: Italy’s take on the croissant
- Un bombolone: A fried pastry similar to a donut
- Una ciambella: A light cake that goes great with coffee
- Una brioche: No explanation needed!
As if it wasn’t already delicious enough, sweet pastries can also be filled. Add any of the following to your baked good of choice:
- Alla crema pasticcera: with pastry cream
- Alla crema chantilly: with whipped cream
- Alla Nutella: with the chocolate hazelnut spread universally recognized as a synonym of happiness
And don’t forget your per favore (please) and grazie (thank you).
To put it all together, one example order would be: un cornetto alla Nutella, per favore. Grazie!
One last thing: be prepared to pay in cash. So if you have some spare coins dancing around in your pocket, use them now. Prices vary from €1 to €1.50 per item.
Where to Find Secret Bakeries in Florence
Congratulations, you’re now ready to test your skills around the city! There are so many things to try and so many places to discover that it will be difficult to stop right after the first secret bakery.
While exact names addresses are a bit hard to give, here are a few of our favorite secret bakeries in Florence to get you started. Keep exploring and see which hidden spots you discover on your own!
- Cornetteria Notte (Via delle Pinzochere)
- Pasticceria Vinci & Bongini (Via del Canto Rivolto, 2)
- On Via de’ Macci at the corner of Via de San Giuseppe
Eliana Ferrari doesn’t like to stay put. She’s traveled all around Europe, excited by every encounter with people, food, and art. How did she end up in Florence? She fell in love: with the magnificence of every corner, with Bolgheri wine, and with the famous Florentine wit (one Florentine’s in particular!).