Florence’s Hidden Gem: Chalet Fontana

Viale Galileo, 7

Tuesday-Sunday 10am-10pm

Closed Monday


Coming from the midwest, sunny days in January always feel like a gift. While in Tuscany it’s not all that unusual I always like to make the most of it, and I am not alone. 

When the sun is shining the city is always buzzing. Instead of scouring for a sun-flooded table at one of the crowded cafe that line the piazza’s, I like to head a place that feels like you’re escaping the city without really leaving it: Chalet Fontana. 

Tucked away in the hills behind Florence’s oltrarno neighborhoods, It’s one of those places you need to know to know. The Chalet brings a slice of the Tuscan countryside just steps from the city center. 

It’s one of Florence’s hidden gems where you can truly feel and experience the meaning of Il dolce far niente. 

While the restaurant is popular with the Florentines, I opt instead to enjoy an aperitivo at the cafe bistro on its sun-flooded balcony. 

Curving into the side of the hill, the balcony encloses the lower dining patio and boasts views of the surrounding garden. 

When I am here I can’t help but feel that this is what people are referring to when they talk about the Dolce Vita. The energy of the city subsides into a calm as soon as you step foot onto the balcony. 

You’re embraced by the views of friends enjoying lunch and pouring each other another glass of red wine and the sounds of children laughing as they run through the garden. It’s a place that perfectly encompasses the elegance yet casual ease that Florentines innately have.

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