Tea in Tuscany – Chiara’s Guide : Would you like an adventure now or shall we have our tea first?”- Peter Pan
Let’s start from Siena where you can find the Corner Shop–La Vie del Tè in Via Cecco Angiolieri, with a wide selection of unique blends; among these one of my favourites : “Turkish Tea with Apple flavor “: it smells like apple pie and immediately sends me back to childhood memories,cozy afternoons by the fire and apple cakes made in the kitchen with my mother.
In Via delle Terme we also like very much the Erboristeria Armonia where they offer lovely herbal tea blends and fruit teas with fruit pieces one can eat; they are nicely sold in small amounts, just right for 3-4 cups so that one is easily inspired to try all the choices available (I very much love the Christmas blend with orange peel, apple and cinnamon as well as the cherry and red berries mix).
If it is a place to sit down and drink good tea that you are looking for, our suggestion is to go in Piazza del Mercato and down a small stairway you will find the charming Tea Room. Excellent choice of teas with an ambience out of this time where unmatched tea cups just add romance to the location together with excellent slices of cakes.
Much wider is of course the choice if you are in Florence. First of all, Florence is home to so many British people that I would be surprised not to find something to please their taste.
To buy and try the tea of the day, I would recommend the elegant little shop called Oro Nero,Piazza Pitti 1 r. Here I was initiated to Matcha tea by the two lovey sisters running the shop where you also can find many types of unique chocolates.
Not only do they spend time advising you about the different types of tea, but they also occasionally organize interesting meetings and workshops all about tea and tea rituals in Florence.
Irene’s instead is an elegant tea room where you can have afternoon tea within the Savoy Hotel. The tea menu is presented with fascinating names and lovely tea cakes. Perfect for an elegant afternoon break.
Not only tea instead at the innovative Todo Modo bookstore in Via de’ Fossi, a bookshop where one can also eat and drink while browsing through books or simply sipping tea while reading.
An intellectual but not pretentious environment where I enjoyed a relaxed conversation while drinking tea with an old friend next to a book club busy discussing their last reading.
Florence also has many shop locations for La Via del Tè with more than 250 types between single leaf , mixed varieties or fruit/ herbal teas as well as tea accessorizes. Lovely idea the “Aromateca” ideated to allow smelling the aromas before choosing you favourite one.
At Mago Merlino, in Via Pilastri 31/r, you find a totally different ambience with the owner known also for being a bit of a fortune teller. Teas and unusual tea pots and from 6 to 9 PM the possibility of “Aperitea“ with a choice between classic tea and tea added with alcohol for the brave ones.
Dolci Pensieri , Via Ponte ale Riffe 26r, Borgo la Croce 26r, is a patisserie where one can enjoy tea accompanied by colorful cakes and vegan pastries.
But my number 1 afternoon tea is the unique one you can find in one of the most evocative Florentine building : the Harold Acton Library at the historical British Institute :cultural meeting place par excellence for expats and all lovers of English culture and language.
You can find here a piece of Great Britain in Tuscany, a corner that sends us back to the Gran Tour, that smells of history and culture, a real treat, an experience to discover the English Spirit by the Arno.
On Thursdays , 4,30- 6 PM, in the Sala Ferragamo you can have Afternoon Tea; a donation of at least 1,50 € is required to support the Library and the British Institute.