Italian buffet table set up with candles with a white table cloth from side view
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Apericena in Florence – My 6 Favorite Places

Last updated on April 5th, 2024

If you are on a budget in Florence and looking to try the Italian ‘happy hour’ with a dinner buffet then read on to learn all about apericena in Florence. 

Apericena = aperitivo + cena (aperitif + dinner)

Apericena is Italy’s fixed price aperitivo served in the evenings including one drink and access to a dinner buffet with lots of finger foods, first courses, fried nibbles, salads and even some main courses as well. In other words, it’s a student’s best friend. 

After traveling in Florence for decades and living as both a student and now permanent resident, I have had plenty of time to eat my way through the apericena options in Florence.

In this guide to apericena in Florence I will share with you my top 5 favorite places to double down on your aperitivo with both cocktails (or mocktails) and plenty of food. Trust me, after indulging in apericena in Florence, you won’t need to go out to dinner! 

For more on drinking in Florence read
Where To Taste Wines In Florence – 8 Enotecas You Can’t Miss In Florence
Best Rooftop Bars in Florence
Coolest Bars in Florence
Aperitivo on a Budget in Florence

Aperitivo vs. Apericena

top view of several different sized dishes filled with snacks like cured meat, crackers, vegetables, crostini with a pile of yellow napkins in the middle.

An aperitivo in Italy is a small beverage accompanied with a little bite to eat to wet your pallet and tie you over before dinner. An aperitivo usually includes light alcoholic beverages such as a Spritz, glass of prosecco, beer or a glass of white wine

The price of your aperitivo will depend on what drink you choose. When you order an aperitivo in Italy, it will be served with salty snacks such as:

An apericena, on the other hand, refers to a fixed price drink including access to a buffet that is substantial enough to double as your dinner. The price of an apericena does not change depending on what you order and will be more expensive than a regular aperitivo, ranging anywhere from €12-16 per person. 

Common buffet items that you may see at an apericena include:

  • chips, peanuts and olives
  • crostini
  • cheese and charcuterie boards
  • small sandwiches 
  • warm and cold pasta dishes
  • rice dishes and rice salads
  • farro salad
  • panzanella
  • cold salads
  • grilled vegetables
  • meatballs
  • fried items
  • regional street foods
  • local bread

The line up of an apericena will usually be “in order” of an Italian menu meaning that at the beginning of the buffet you will find small nibbles, then salads and pastas and then more substantial items such as meats or fried foods. 

To learn more about what to order at an apericena, read
Best Italian Cocktails – 15 Popular Aperitifs We Actually Drink In Italy
Campari Spritz
Negroni With Prosecco
What Does a Negroni Taste Like? + All You Need to Know About the Classic Italian Cocktail
Aperitivo In Italy – How Italians Do Pre-dinner Drinks + How To Recreate It At Home.

How Does An Apericena Work?

Aperitivo spritz and two small plates of cheeses and cured meats on a stone surface.

An apericena works slightly differently than a classic Italian aperitivo. Once you sit down, you will be given a small plate with your cocktail. (If not, the plates might be stacked next to the buffet).

Take your plate to the buffet and use the serving utensils to serve yourself. You can come back for seconds. Some places prefer you take a new plate when you do this. Just ask if it’s not clear. 

Keep these tips in mind when having an apericena in Italy:

  • Be modest with your portions. Although it may be your dinner, you can always come back for more.
  • Dishes rotate throughout the evening. If you don’t see what you like initially, take a couple appetizer items and just wait until you see new dishes served shortly.
  • Always use the serving utensils at the buffet
  • Don’t take more than one plate of food at once.

Quick Guide To Apericena in Florence

NameAddress (Neighborhood)Best For
SerafiniVia Vincenzo Gioberti, 168/redBudget friendly
Cabiria Lounge BarPiazza Santo Spirito, 4r (Santo Spirito)Families (located in a car-free zone in Florence)
Caffè Letterario Le MuratePiazza delle MurateStudents / Large groups 
Soul KitchenVia dei Benci, 34rInnovative apericena formula 
Oblate CafeteriaVia dell’ Oriuolo, 26Students 
Il RifrulloVia di S. Niccolò, 57Hanging with locals 

Serafini

Via Vincenzo Gioberti, 168/red

Best For: Budget Friendly

Serfini is primarily a bakery and bar serving the Piazza Beccaria residential neighborhood on the outskirts of Florence with one of the best deals in the city.

Their evening aperitivo is not marketed as an apericena but the buffet is so large and vast to be a regular aperitivo that I group it with the apericena category. 

Serafini is a typical Italian bar so don’t expect beautiful decor, glasses, or innovation. Instead, it’s all about the locals catching up after work over a glass of wine.  Salute!

A drink will set you back between €8-10.00 with full access to the buffet which includes everything in a typical apericena buffet. Seating is primarily indoors.

Cabiria Lounge Bar

side view of the church at piazza santo spirito with large yellow facade with blue sky in background.

Piazza Santo Spirito, 4r

Best For: Families

Cabiria, located in Piazza Santo Spirito Oltarno, is my top pick for families looking for an apericena in Florence. The piazza or square is a traffic-free zone (with exceptions for emergency vehicles and trash collection), making it the ideal place for kids to run around while you sit down for a drink. Be sure to get there on the earlier side if you want one of the outdoor tables.

The buffet is kid friendly and you can even order non-alcoholic beverages for minors such as Crodino or Crodino Spritz.

Learn More: You may be interested in
The Legal Drinking Age In Italy
How To Toast in Italian

Caffè Letterario Le Murate

Brick and orange painted building with painted sign for Caffè Letterario. Green tables with white chairs in front on terrace.

Piazza delle Murate

Best For: Students / Large groups

Caffè Letterario in Le Murate is a really cool corner of Florence located in the ex-female prison in Florence. The prison has now been restored and is home to many business and offices including this great cafe for studying, coffee, lunch and apericena in Florence.

The caffè’s largest client base is students and student prices are what you can expect. The buffet has the standard selection of various first courses, appetizers and some more substantial options. 

Evenings here are often organized with some kind of book reading, comedy show, movies, live music and other events. 

Soul Kitchen

Via dei Benci, 34r

Best For: Innovative apericena formula 

Soul Kitchen is centrally located just off of Piazza Santa Croce offering a fun and innovative approach to the typical apericena formula in Italy. 

At Soul Kitchen you pay one price (€15) for your drink with three tapas of your choice which aren’t big but it’s enough for a light dinner. Choose from creative items like a small pulled pork sandwich, falafel, hummus with bread and raw veggies, pappa al pomodoro with cheese or fried dough with prosciutto and stracchino. 

Alternatively, you can choose their tagliere of cheese and charcuterie board with fried bread balls with drink for €18.

Good To Know: Soul kitchen also hosts many fun evenings such as DJ sets, live music and other events on the weekends. 

Oblate Cafeteria

View of the Duomo from the Oblate Library Cafe in Florence, Italy.

Via dell’Oriuolo, 26

Best For: Students

Located within the Oblate Library upstairs, this student cafe is the best spot for apericena with a view in Florence. This budget friendly apericena is served only from Wednesday – Saturday 6:30 – 9:30 pm.

Most cocktail bars or aperitivo spots in Florence with a view come with a spendy price tag but not here. It’s all about student life for Florentines with an amazing view of the Duomo. 

Il Rifrullo

People walking in neighborhood in Florence. People sit in outdoor seating area at Rifrullo. Buildings are multi-story and colorful.

Via di S. Niccolò, 57

Best For: Hanging with locals 

This cafe is a local hangout for Florentines in the San Niccolò neighborhood just below Piazzale Michelangelo. 

Open from morning until after dinner, this cafe, bar and restaurant serves food and drink all day including a decent apericena buffet with both classic Italian items and international flavors from around 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm. 

Choose from seating either indoors, on their street-side covered terrace, or in their backyard courtyard. 

Tip: Come to Rifrullo after your hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo to see the sunset over the city. On your way back down, stop here to grab an apericena and if you want to keep going, this whole square turns into a rowdy after-hour hangout for locals. 

Spending Time in Florence? Make the most of your time eating and drinking in bella Firenze!:
Best Pizza in Florence
Best Gelato In Florence
Best Coffee In Florence
10 Foods You Must Try On Your First Visit To Florence
The Best Cheap Eats in Tuscany
Eating Vegan and Vegetarian in Florence
Best Rooftop Bars in Florence
Where to Have Aperitivo on a Budget in Florence

Where to Eat on Your First Visit to Florence
My Favorite Places to Eat Bistecca Fiorentina in Florence
Where to Have Brunch in Florence
Coolest Bars in Florence
International Restaurants in Florence
My Favorite Wine Bars (Enoteche) in Florence
Wines to Try in Tuscany
Where to Find Florence’s Best Schiacciata
Florence’s Best Panini
Food Markets in Florence
Where to Find Florence’s Best Pastries
Best Bakeries in Florence
Eating Gluten-Free in Florence
Where to Have Apericena in Florence
Where to Get Takeout in Florence
Where Locals Eat in Florence
Florentine Food Souvenirs

Where to Eat with Kids in Florence
Where to Get a Quick Bite with Kids in Florence
Traditional Tuscan Food

Apericena in Florence FAQ

Can you order a second drink at an apericena?

Yes, of course you can. You will only be charged the price of an apericena once and if you want a second drink after that, the prices will be à la carte.