When I visited my friend Katie in Florence this past May, she was kind enough to meet me at the train station since it was my first time in Florence. After dropping off my bag at the hotel, my stomach rumbling reminded me that after the train ride from Salerno to Florence it was certainly time for lunch. When I asked Katie for a suggestion on where we should go, she responded with, “Do you want something cheap or something good?” I said, “Something cheap AND good.” Off we went to her favorite panino shop, which was a memorable and fun experience. I’ve tried to recreate that panino here on the Amalfi Coast, but it’s just not the same without the Tuscan prosciutto, pecorino and artichokes. Yum! Here’s Katie to tell you more about where to find the best sandwiches in Florence.
Vinaino di Parte Guelfa opened about a year and half ago by two good friends, Luca and Leonardo, who happen to be brothers-in-law as well. Having done every job under the sun, they decided to open this delicious panino shop in the center of Florence. Both natives of Florence, they have now accumulated new friends from the city and all over the world. They tell me they enjoy speaking with folks that frequent the shop. Social interactions are what they thrive on! Sometimes it seems as if they are bartenders as well since every time I am in there someone is complaining about their life, while Luca and Leonardo add their two sense here and there and then let the client vent. It’s an extra bonus to be able to let all your worries and concerns out to your neighborhood sandwich extraordinaires.
I entered this sandwich shop because of a recommendation from a friend. Often I’m nervous entering a new establishment in Florence since I’m very shy and it takes time before I feel comfortable with the owners and then can loosen up and talk up a storm with the clients and perhaps help out the tourists order. The shop is very small with only 2 tall and very tiny tables. Most people congregate outside on the curb during the busy lunch hour since there is no room inside. When arriving during the hours of 1pm to 3pm, expect a line. Don’t worry as it moves quite fast. Luca and Leonardo are very helpful and patient with each customer foreign or not. (Bare with them they are still learning English!) It is hard to decide when there are savory meats and tantalizing aromas making you second-guess yourself.
Photo courtesy Terra di Virgilio
The menu is small and versatile, offering you the choice between having a schiacciatina and panino . A simple panino with prosciutto crudo and pecorino fresco will run you only €2,50. If you are like me who like to mix tons of fresh flavors of Tuscany together, then it will cost you just €1 more, €3,50. Beverages consist of vino (wine), Fanta, Coca-Cola, water and beer. All will be from €1 to €1,50. I suggest the vino after a long day of walking in Florence!
This delectable panino shop is located off the beaten path on Via Val di Lamona right near Mercato Nuovo. The street is very small and once you walk down it, you will see the token barrel outside the shop. That’s your cue that you’ve arrived at this scrumptious panino shop!
Katie Greenaway is a freelance travel writer and is the Local Expert of Florence for Nile Guide where she also provides the secrets of Florence on her blog. She writes about her life in Florence on her personal blog Olio di Oliva e Sogni di Vino and contributes to MNUI travel insurance with travel articles.