One of my definitions of ‘joy’ is an evening spent at Il Santo Bevitore (read article here) and sister space, two doors down via di Santo Spirito is equally delectable. Opened in 2008, this “enoteca e gastronomia” focuses in a typically Tuscan way on sourcing high quality food and wine from small local producers. A former wine cellar, Il Santino is a small yet cozy space featuring exposed brick, wooden beams and shelves stacked full of local produce. Behind the central bar cured meats hang from hooks while beneath the marble countertop a glass cabinet displays a range of meats, marinated vegetables and an array of cheeses from across Italy, France, England and Belgium for you to take your pick.

Il Santino has an intimate feel from the minute you enter. With only four small tables, and a collection of iron stools at the bar, the limited seating adds to its cosy ambience. This isn’t a place to be packed with patrons, rather a relaxed space to enjoy a glass of wine and a selection of treats from a regularly changing seasonal menu. Owners Stefano Sebastiani and Marco & Martina Baldesi wanted to create a Tuscan tapas bar which hadn’t existed until now in Florence. They’ve created a place to savour fine cuts of local meats and a range of the finest European cheeses on small plates, ranging from beef carpaccio salad to pecorino and pancetta crostini or typical Tuscan dishes like pappa al pomodoro or terrina di fegatini di pollo (chicken liver pate). The menu also offers wine pairing suggestions taken from an extensive list served by the glass or bottle. You can also be adventurous and pair an artisan beer with your selection of food.

In summer, patrons spill into the street enjoying the warm evenings, adding to the atmosphere and numbers the bar can accommodate. It also acts as a take-away deli should you be living or staying locally, so be it day or night, Il Santino is a great choice any time of the year. 
Photo credit: Raissa Damergi