July 17, 2012 / 8:59 AM / 7 years ago

The Spirited Traveler: Al fresco tippling in Florence

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With the legendary winemaking region of Tuscany nearby, of course the Florentines drink plenty of wine. Even in their cocktails.

“Florentines generally love and drink wine - white, red, sparkling,” confirms Tiziana Frescobaldi. As representative of Italian winery Marchesi de’Frescobaldi, she certainly understands Florence’s affinity for vino.

In fact, two of Florence’s favorite aperitivos rely on Prosecco, Italy’s sparkling wine, as a primary ingredient: The peach-flavored Bellini and the orangey Aperol Spritz.

Among the places to enjoy these bubbly drinks, Frescobaldi recommends Rosati Caffè (www.rosatibar.it/) in Piazza della Signoria. An al fresco tipple at the most iconic square in the city makes for a rather special experience.

Indeed, eating and drinking al fresco is one of the city’s many great pleasures.

Additional picks for business travelers include Cibreo (www.cibreo.com/) in the San Ambrogio market; Fabio Picci's acclaimed restaurant; and the iconic Harry's Bar (www.harrysbarfirenze.it/). (Note: Harry's Bar in Venice, rather than Florence, is credited with creating the Bellini.)

Another pick, the Westin Excelsior (www.westinflorence.com) in Piazza Ognissanti is known for its exceptional view, but Frescobaldi warns that it is "mainly for foreigners; very few Italians around."

For a more local feel, seek out Caffè Giacosa (www.caffegiacosa.it/), owned by fashion icon Roberto Cavalli and frequented by stylish types. Some say the best cappuccino in town is to be found here - a high compliment in this espresso-fuelled city - and after dark during the warmer months, the venue transitions into a nightclub.

Frescobaldi also recommends the recently opened Rivalta Cafe (www.rivaltacafe.it/) for a wine-based aperitivo in true Florentine style: al fresco, of course.

(Editing by Peter Myers and Paul Casciato)

Kara Newman is the author of "The Secret Financial Life of Food", available on amzn.to/MAijHQ. Any opinions expressed are her own.

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