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side view of man selling chestnuts on street in florence with yellow and brown buildings in background.

The Best Cheap Eats in Tuscany – 8 Unforgettable Tuscan Street Foods

Last updated on February 21st, 2024

We all know sightseeing is exhausting. After seeing countless sculptures, museums and paintings, there is nothing more welcome than some good old street food!

Whether it’s your first trip to Tuscany or your fifth, you should be spending some considerable amount of time indulging in Tuscan street food. But where to start? There are so many options in both Florence and in the whole Tuscan region.

It’s been almost 20 years since I started tasting my way through Tuscany and I can assure you that much of my time spent has been on the street with a glass of wine in one hand and a snack in the other.

In this article, I will share my insider knowledge on the most unforgettable Tuscan street foods to try while in Italy, including who each food is best for and my favorite spots to eat them in both Florence and Tuscany, giving you ample choice and opportunity to chow down no matter where you are!

Lampredotto

view of food stall from street in florence with lots of people gathered around eating sandwiches.
Sergio Pollini’s food truck in Florence

Best For: Adventurous and brave eaters

Where To Eat It In Florence:  Sergio Pollini food truck next to the Sant’Ambrogio open air market, one of the best food markets in Florence

Where To Eat It In Rifredi (suburb of Florence): Lampredotto Aurelio food stand 

Lampredotto is one of Florence’s most famous street foods made from slow cooked cow stomach that is then served on a bread roll with salsa verde, a green sauce made from capers, anchovies, parsley, lemon, oil, garlic and onion. 

Insider Tip: Ask for your roll dipped in the cooking broth which brings the whole thing to a whole new level! 

Trippa

Best For: Foodies

Where To Eat It In Florence:  Trattoria Da Rocco in the Sant’Ambrogio market

Where To Eat It In Montepulciano: L’Angolo Dei Sapori (only on Fridays and ask for it to go if you want to enjoy it street-side). 

Trippa is one of Tuscany’s most beloved poor man’s foods made from the rumen and omasum parts of the cow stomach that are stewed for hours with tomato and soffritto, creating a tender and juicy stew that will warm your bones.

Most locals pick it up at kiosks and eat it standing from a small plastic container with a crusty hunk of bread but you can also order it at several restaurants and eat it sitting down as well.

Schiacciata

Piles of schiacciata at a grocery store in Tuscany.
Stacks of schiacciata for sale

Best For: Sharing (schiacciata can be cut to order in small strips to share) 

Where To Eat It In Florence: Cantinetta dei Verrazzano or Sforno

Where To Eat It In Montepulciano: Borgo del Forno

Schiacciata is Tuscany’s version of focaccia, an oily flatbread characterized by a crunchy and crispy golden crust. 

Schiacciata is a popular snack or merenda in all of Tuscany, particularly enjoyed after school or mid-morning.  It’s also one of my favorite snacks to eat here in Italy while pregnant.

Look for sandwich shops, bars, or bakeries selling sandwiches made from schiacciata. Sandwiches made with schiacciata are much more flavorful than regular old panini! 

Tip: If you are at a sandwich shop and would like your panino made with schiacciata, be sure to specify this. If you don’t, you will get a sandwich made with pane toscano or on a roll. 

Cecina

hand holding a piece of cecina wrapped in a piece of parchment paper with outdoors in background.
Me, enjoying freshly-made cecina

Best For: Vegans and vegetarians

Where To Eat It Florence: La Cranceria

Where To Eat It In Livorno: Torteria da Gagarin

Cecina is a savory chickpea flatbread that is cooked at a high temperature, creating a crispy, blistered exterior with a pillowy center, similar to Liguria’s farinata or Nice’s (France) socca. 

Tip: You can either order it as is or have it in a sandwich called cinque e cinque in Livorno. 

Porchetta

porchetta in a window ready to be sliced showing the head.

Best For: Meat-lovers

Where To Eat It Florence: Antica Porchetteria Granieri 1916

Where To Eat It In Greve in Chianti: Every Saturday from 8am to 1 pm at the open air market

Every region in Italy has their version of a spit roasted whole pig and in Tuscany, we do it with plenty of local herbs such as fennel, black pepper, sage and rosemary. 

Order porchetta at any open air market either in slices and paid for by the weight or in a sandwich to be eaten as Tuscan street food. 

Necci

Best For: Farm to table snack

Where To Eat It Florence: Organic Market every 3rd Sunday of the month in Santo Spirito

Where To Eat It In Lucca: Pizzeria da Felice

Sometimes known as ciaffagnoni, necci are thin pancakes made with chestnut flour made in the fall when chestnuts come into season in Tuscany. They are rolled into a tube shape and stuffed with fresh ricotta cheese.

Look for sagre or food celebrations in Tuscany advertising these little guys. What could be better than a whole food festival built upon local chestnuts and cheese

Good To Know: You can also order a sweet version of necci which is made with honey!

Panino

Panini and pizza in glass display from side view.

Best For: Very hungry travelers looking for a hearty snack

Where To Eat It In Florence: Semel (Sant’Ambrogio market) or Ino (close to Ponte Vecchio), both on my list of Off-the-Hook Sandwich Shops in Florence

Where To Eat It In Siena: Osteria Il Grattacielo dal 1840

Tuscany makes some of the best sandwiches in all of Italy which can be ordered straight off pre-set menus or made to order, which is how I like to do it. 

Usually you will be asked to choose your bread, a meat and a cheese to which you can then add any kind of sauce that they have or vegetable (salad, tomato, grilled zucchini, for example). 

Good To Know: Sandwiches in Italy aren’t like ones back home. Don’t expect an Italian sub with three kids of deli meat. Rather, there will be one kind of meat paired with cheese. 

Gelato 

hand holding a large gelato cone with a yellow and white scoop with a cookie on top with a gelateria in background from street view.
Never turn down a gelato stop in Tuscany

Best For: Gluten-Free travelers

Where To Eat It In Florence: Gelateria Edoardo

Where To Eat It In Pienza: Fredo Pasticceria Gelateria Artigianale

Gelato may seem like a pretty generic Italian street food but I can assure you that Tuscany has some of the best around! 

Order your gelato in a cone or a cup and cool off under the shadows of ancient architecture throughout Tuscany. My favorite flavors are always fruit which will always be seasonal and chocolate.

Florence Travelers: Looking to sample some of Florence’s finest gelato? Read Best Gelato In Florence – From A Local.

Tips For Eating Tuscan Street Food

Keep my top tips in mind for purchasing and buying Tuscan street food to have the best experience possible.

  • Tuscan street food is meant to be eaten on the spot. Takeaway bags aren’t very popular in Italy so don’t expect to eat half of your trippa and get a box to eat it later. 
  • If you order a panino, many shops don’t like to cut it in half for you to share. Sometimes they will, especially if you have kids but it’s not typical.
  • Gelato melts a lot more quickly than American ice cream. Eat it quickly! Learn more about gelato here.
  • Many of these Tuscan street food double as great snacks to stick in your bag for energy between sightseeing. This is especially important if you are traveling with kids!
  • Schiacciata is best enjoyed on the same day its made. It’s not bread that lasts long! 
  • Consider eating many of these street foods in place of a meal. It saves money and time. Panini, lampredotto, trippa, cecina and porchetta all make great lunch options. 

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