Meet Amber Guinness

Cook, author, journalist and co-founder of Arniano's painting school.

 Discover more about Amber's Tuscany and all of Firenze's little secrets! 


If you could have only 24 hours to have all the best food in Florence, what would be your must go spots from breakfast to dinner? 

 The best breakfast in Florence is to be found in Piazza Signoria at Rivoire. It’s such a joy to walk through that beautiful square early in the morning before there are too many people around and look at the Loggia dei Lanzi in complete peace, knowing that in a few minutes you’ll be sipping on a perfect cappuccino and spremuta di arancia. Have your breakfast standing up and the price won’t be exorbitant. Choose a pastry from the long counter by the entrance. 

Then as I’m usually recipe testing for books and articles, I head over to my favourite food market in San Ambrogio, where the stalls groan with incredible fruit and vegetables. In the covered market you’ll find the best butchers and cheese mongers too. Once I’ve finished my shopping I’ll stop for something to eat. Where I go depends on how much time I have, if I am in a rush, I’ll have a quick sandwich and €1 glass of wine from Rasi e Cartocci, a delicatessen part of the Cibreo empire in the centre of the market. They make the most delicious sandwiches with arista and carciofini (thinly sliced pork loin and baby artichokes). I like the sandwiches there as the bread isn’t too thick, and they are the perfect size. Not too big. If I have more time I’ll go to Cibreo Cafe for a glass of prosecco and a more substantial bite. 

At drink’s o’clock it’s time for an aperitivo at Procacci on Via Tornabuoni for a glass of Franciacorta and the famous Procacci truffle sandwich. The recipe of what is in these tiny truffle brioche buns is a secret, but they are all the more delicious for the mystery. 

Then on to dinner where I finish the day back in Piazza Signoria at Vini e Vecchi Sapori, a tiny but perfect restaurant hidden down an alley off the piazza. The waiters are heavenly and friendly and will probably be playing their favourite Abba tunes. The food is wonderful, and brilliantly executed Tuscan fare. Fried artichokes in a batter which is made with a splash of vin santo. Fettucine with cavolo nero and pancetta, and the best bistecca Fiorentina in town. Finish your meal with their signature tiramisu ai lamponi (raspberry tiramisu), or bonghe bonghe - profiteroles filled with dark chocolate creme patissiere and covered in a white chocolate sauce. 


And where would you stop along the way to admire the beauty of the city? 

As long as the square isn’t too crowded, I always stop to look at Loggia dei Lanzi at all the wonderful statues. Near procacci, I would cross my favourite bridge il Ponte Santa Trinità. Designed by Michelangelo, it was bombed by the Germans during the war, but was lovingly re-built, each piece being recovered from the bottom of the Arno. I also love nipping in to Piazza Santa Felicita to go and see the small church there which has a wonderful Pontormo Deposition on display. You’ll need to bring some change to switch on the lights! 

And last, if you oculd choose any famous personality from the present or the past, who would you want to guide through he city? 

 I’m not sure about guiding myself, but I would love to have had a guided tour from Iris Origo, the famous writer and creator of the gardens at La Foce in the Val d’Orcia.



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