Late nights and secret bakeries.
Follow the scent in search of late night croissants in Florence.
Let me set the scene for a late night in Florence- the leather markets are closed, the piazzas are desolate, and the American bars are starting to repeat the same songs. However, right around midnight, the streets become cluttered with packs of people on a hunt for what Americans and locals call “secret bakeries”. Here’s the lowdown on these kitchens throughout the city:
Most of them open around midnight and stay open until 4 or 5 in the morning baking pastries to provide to cafes the next day. Technically they are illegal, but it does not stop people who want a late night snack fresh out of the oven. The best way to find these unmarked bakeries is to follow the scent of the pastries. There is a certain procedure you follow- you approach quietly, one person knocks and asks for whatever is fresh through the cracked door, and then you exchange euros for white paper bags of warm pastries.
Last night was my first run-in with a secret bakery. My roommates and I were walking home when we were hit with the irresistible scent of baked goods. We used our noses to guide us down a cobblestone alley where we found a building with light shining through tinted windows, and we knew just what to do. We were each rewarded with warm croissants, both chocolate and cream filled, for only 1 euro each! Devouring the croissant I worked hard to find was one of the best moments of my trip so far.