When I want to find my own little corner with my laptop in Firenze, where do I go?
Unlike 2009 when I first lived in Tuscany, now many places have Wi-Fi. Even cities have Wi-Fi to rely on as you walk around. In Edinburgh, London, Venice, Barcelona, and Florence we have picked up free WiFi while walking around the city. This is especially helpful when you don’t have an international mobile plan.
Paul and I rely on Wi-Fi to work on our freelance work and other creative projects. We have free Wi-Fi at our studio apartment, but I don’t like sitting in the house all day. Going out into the city is more my thing.
After I get up in the morning, I usually take a 20 minute bus ride into the city. I have chosen to work at the following cafes and would like to check out more of them in Florence. But the following places are the ones I’ve discovered so far.:
Amble is tucked away in a small piazza. It sits to the right of the Arno and is a perfect place to be cozy and quiet in. It’s signature flamingo illustrated logo graces the walls of the café and you can also see it on their menu. Their menu has any and all bites – from tasty coffee, veggie sandwiches, and a “tart of the week.” This week was raspberry or orange tarts. I tried the orange one while sipping a strong Americano.
Next to the counter is a wall of small baskets full of fresh produce you can buy on your way out for dinner that night! Very convenient if you do not know what you’re going to cook for dinner when you get home.
If you’re with friends, there is seating for groups near the front of the café as well as outside in the quaint piazza. The staff is very friendly and always has good music playing.
La Menagere is much bigger. It boasts big glass doors at the entrance. The coffee here is my favorite out of the four places I’ve listed. The froth on the cappuccino is like sipping from a cloud and the pastries are tasty. They also have small sandwiches and pizza to snack on. As the daylight dims, this place becomes a good spot for dinner and aperitvo hours as well.
Something totally unique to this café that I’ve never seen anywhere before is in the center of the cafe, they have a florist shop! If you are sitting in the café during mid-afternoons, you can see the florist walking around and filling each table vase with fresh flowers for the day and evening.
Le Murate functions as a place for dinner at night like La Menagere does. They have an outdoor concert area where on the weekends you can hear local music groups play. Everyone is out, enjoying the music and drinks with their friends in the crisp evening air.
During the day, La Murate is a good place for no one to find you. It’s made up of many rooms that lead you to each other; a bit like you’re in a house with a weird layout. The bathroom doors are heavy and rusty. The lighting is dark, but not bad if you’re looking for a truly empty space in the back to work in with a guarantee of an outlet that’s all yours. At first I thought the rusty, big, iron doors were odd-looking for a bathroom, but then I found out that this place used to be a PRISON that functioned from 1845-1985!!! Before a prison it was a convent. After knowing this history, the layout and “aesthetics” of this place (a bit old and blocky/harsh looking) made much more sense. They converted the complex where café resides into a cultural center in 1998, including the outdoor concert area, a bookstore, and museum/exhibit area. The café part opened in 2011. I love the fact that in Europe instead of demolishing old buildings they make them into something new. It’s much more unique to have a space of stories than a building that looks like all the rest.
Biblioteca delle Oblate is the last but definitely not the least on my list. If you know anything about my librarian past (I have a MSIS in Information Studies, was a librarian for about five years before I took a departure to try technical content strategy/web development work) you know I love a good public library!!!! Libraries are internationally used as places to seek knowledge, plug-in, and be inspired. I love to visit libraries during my travels and see how they are impacting and serving their specific community. Libraries feel like home to me; a familiar, safe space that has similarities no matter where you are: books, computers, people looking for answers or enjoying a book.
The library was the first location I went to work while in Florence. This library’s top floor reveals a jaw dropping view of the Duomo! I’m talking the dome is right next to the library and you can see the terracotta tiles and the way the sunlight hits them, changing shades of the terracotta through the day. The first floor is where you can obtain a library card, the second floor is where the collections are, and the third floor is group study, silent study areas. There is ALSO an awesome café that is open throughout the day for everyone’s caffeine break. The staff is very friendly. My only complaint with the library is you can only use “so much” wifi for each visit. It seems I’ve timed out after four hours. When this happens I switch locations to another café around town. Or I head home and on my way I buy pizza and sit to watch the sunset on Santa Croce.