Piazza Santa Croce, at the beginning of the night — Photo courtesy of Alex Schnee
Italians usually have aperitive as a quick snack before a much later, larger dinner. There are many places that serve quality aperitivo from around five to seven in the evening, but Moyo is known for being a popular spot for locals and for expats, as well. It is also fairly reasonably priced and has great cocktails, so you can end up spending more money on a well-cooked meal or drinks later on. It is just a short walk from Santa Croce, so after you're done sipping on your Negroni, you can wander over to the piazza and people watch.
Dondino can also be another great place if you are looking for an experience with a slightly different flavor. Offering some local wines, it has a relaxed atmosphere that an older crowd will appreciate more than the busy bars like Red Garter or Twice (yes, of Jersey Shore fame). It’s right in the piazza, and you have a great view of the church of Santa Croce, where famous Florentine residents like Michelangelo and Galileo are buried.
The busy area of Santo Spirito — Photo courtesy of Leoplus
If you're looking for something a bit more local, heading across the river to Santo Spirito can be a way to get some distance from the tourists crowding the Duomo and other areas. PopCafe is a great spot to sit and enjoy the true characters of Florence – you will see all kinds of people.From expensively dressed Gucci employees to the homeless, there is always something to see.
The party also continues throughout the week. So if you're only visiting for a few days, you can still get a flavor of the nightlife of Florence. Volume is also a good place to get a cheap beer and sit out at the steps of the church of Santo Spirito along with the locals.
If you're thinking about dancing some of the night away, there are a few popular clubs near the Santa Croce region. Be aware that most of these clubs have an overflow of men looking for women, so you might want to bring a few of your female friends along with you. Blob is tucked away near Piazza Signoria, and you will find a crowd there until four or five in the morning.
Italians start the night late, so it’s normal to see everyone walking out right before the sun rises. For a true discoteca experience, you might want to head to Space. You’ll hear American hits played often, and the dance floor is always open.
All of these hot nightlife locations are at the most a twenty-minute walk from each other, so you can easily find your way in and out even if you don’t know the city that well.