As the sun begins to fall behind the buildings surrounding this tiny piazza, I sip my centrifuga and tug my scarf a little closer. I should be working, but it’s the ideal spot for people watching instead. A girl walks by holding a rose and some people standing nearby call out “Auguri.” She grins. An old woman sticks her head out of her window to observe the people below. People pass on their way to somewhere. People sip, people smoke.
In Piazzetta dei del Bene, you will find a quaint café tucked into a hidden corner where you can duck out of the throngs of Ponte Vecchio and join the eclectic crowd seated in mismatched retro chairs. This is Amblé: fresh food and old furniture. This place holds a special place in my heart after stumbling upon it a year and a half ago. I fell in love with the laid back atmosphere, the friendly faces and good snacks, and I returned almost every morning to catch up with the same two friends, laughing and telling each other what had happened since the day before and our last cappuccino. There were many free brownies, there were many half English half Italian jokes, and we always felt welcomed. Those were my carefree days in Florence. Those were the days that anchored my heart to this city.
The name Amblé comes from the French dressage term d’emblée, meaning the pass from fast to slow in a horse’s step. This term captures perfectly the way you stumble upon this café for the first time…as you bustle along, you will suddenly find yourself in the colourful piazetta, and your step will slow as you take in the beach chairs and the people sipping tea from antique cups, and you will find yourself drawn to enter. Inside you will discover what is like whimsical living room, with bright pops of colour and one-of-a-kind decorative pieces. Here you can truly slow down and unwind, just steps from the commotion of the shopping streets of Florence.
At the bar you will find tramezzini prepared in the moment (with 0km products!), coffee, tea, sweets and a wall of fresh seasonal fruits ready to become juice. As you revel in the bright and fresh atmosphere, know that you are free to take a piece of it home with you, as everything is for sale: from the quirky chairs and knick-knacks to the antique teacups to the light fixtures. Speaking of home, if you prefer to enjoy Amblé treats from the comfort of your own living room, they will deliver to you. Their delivery system is completely local and eco-friendly…your order will be delivered to you by bicycle, packaged in recyclable and compostable materials. Everything about this café is quaint, simple.
Being a perpetual fast-walker, I often find myself frustrated when walking in the centre of Florence as I get trapped behind tour groups, or friends walking along at a leisurely pace, chatting and enjoying the sun. I find myself weaving in and out of clusters, trying to make my way to my destination, usually work, as quickly as possible. I find it hard to slow my gate and enjoy what’s around me, which is incredible in such a beautiful city. But this philosophy of taking your time, not glancing at your watch every moment and just being still, have great value.
I will probably never stop coming here to remind myself to slow down, that simplicity is true bliss.