I call Rivalta the suntrap. Positioned by the river Arno at Ponte Santa Trinita, it has one of the best seats in Florence to watch the sunset over stunning views, preferably with a cocktail in hand.

Housed in a stately palace, the bar was once a brothel frequented by Lorenzo de’ Medici during Renaissance times. Today it is popular with a cool crowd seeking a different kind of pleasure and sun seekers who come for the view and the well-made drinks.

Opened in June 2012 by friends Lorenzo, Gianluca and Domenico, all experienced in the hospitality industry, their vision was to create a bar that reflected the city of Florence today: both cosmopolitan and historical.

The décor is a mix of retro and modern, with 1960s-style seats aside sleek white resin tables. Colourful canvas prints of Rivalta’s flying dog logo line the wall, inspired by the two Greyhounds that can be found in the 200 year-old frescoed ceiling. The bar is polished and teeming with bespoke cocktail condiments while the terrace is perfectly positioned to catch the afternoon sun on comfy banquette seating, perfect for people-watching or simply enjoying the views over the Arno.

Cocktail making is taken very seriously; professionally trained bartenders are encouraged to experiment and create new mixology. Just like the décor, the extensive drinks menu offers a mix of classics like Negroni or Spritz, as well as more modern concoctions. Staff make their own liqueurs, spices and bitters to produce mouth-bursting drinks you can only find here. 

Head bartender Rachele Giglioni began her career only two years ago and has already succeeded in winning the "Martini Royale” competition in 2013. On a recent visit, she created the “Aphrodisiac”, a mix of vodka, vanilla, lemon and sugar served in a glass mug with chocolate rim.  

Every night from 19:00, a hearty “aperitivo” buffet is served offering freshly made panini, pasta, salads and frittata. From March, Rivalta Burger Sundays begins with a selection of 12 juicy styles to choose from, including vegetarian and celiac options. There are also daily lunch and dinner menus offering seasonal dishes at good prices.

Thursday to Sunday DJs play from 19:00 when the venue becomes a vibrant place, especially on warm summer nights when the bar stays open until 3am.

For information or table reservations, go to rivaltacafe.it