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There are many things you may not know about Florence, from fun food facts to stories of famous childhood characters. Are you a foodie on a food tour in Florence with a stomach for knowledge? Then here are 5 things to know about Florence before you travel.

Things You Didn’t Know About Florence

Fun facts and things you may not have already known about Florence, Italy:

    • Pinocchio was from Florence
    • Florence is known as the “Athens of the Middle Ages”
    • The first piano was built in Florence
    • The local speciality dish is a T-Bone steak
    • Gelato was invented in Florence

Pinocchio was from Florence

Ok, so we’re not literally saying the wooden figure really did come to life, but there’s certainly a reason why the story was based in Tuscany. The story of Pinocchio was released as a Walt Disney classic in 1940, however, the character was born much earlier. Author Carlo “Collodi” Lorenzi was from Florence, Italy, and wrote the original book in the early 1880’s.

Florence is known as the “Athens of the Middle Ages”

Due to its rich history and has been one of the wealthiest cities in Europe within Medieval times, Florence is often compared to its Greek counterpart.

Furthermore, with its fascinating art scene and has been home to a number of prominent names, Florence is also considered the birth of the Renaissance period. Which in itself has played a significant role in the evolution of the arts since the 15th and 16th centuries.

The First Piano was Built in Florence

Having learnt his trade as a harpsichord maker, Italian Bartolomeo Cristofori lived and worked in the Tuscan city of Florence. It was here where it is believed he started to develop the harpsichord into the modern piano during the late 1600’s.

As of today, just 3 of his early 1720’s piano remain in existence. One can be found in Leipzig, another in New York and the 3rd still in Italy, housed at the “Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali” in Rome.

The local speciality dish is a T-Bone steak

Are you a foodie with a love of Italian cuisine? Then you may wish to enjoy authentic food and drink experiences in Florence. Although when choosing the most popular dish on the menu, you may be in for a surprise.

When most people think of Italy, it's often talk of pasta and amazing pizzas with age-old traditions. However, in Florence, the local speciality is “Bistecca alla Fiorentina”. Without doubt one of the best food to try in Florence is this huge T-Bone steak, often cooked over charcoal.

Gelato was invented in Florence

This is one to have in mind when on a food tour in Florence. The origins of Gelato is considered an important piece of Italian food and drink history.

Especially given Gelato is possibly Italy’s most well-loved desserts. Having opened Café Procope in Paris back in 1686, Italian born Procopio Cutò is recognised as having developed what we now know as Italian Gelato.

However, according to stories elsewhere, the food and drink loving architect, Bernardo Buontalenti is also given the credit. Whether it be down to Italy born Procopio Cutò with his strong French connections or Florence native Buontalenti, Gelato has remained an Italian classic ever since.

Book food and drink experiences in Florence

Here at we have a range of food tours in Florence available. Where you can also find wine tours, cookery classes, food experiences and much more.

Book food and drink experiences in Florence

Tuscany is a region in Central Italy that has become known for its rolling hills, vibrant cities, and, of course, its delicious wine. Find out more about the wonderful wines found in this region.

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