It’s morning. The streets of Oltrarno are quiet and peaceful. You are walking in search of a place to sit down and have a leisurely breakfast. You go past Piazza del Carmine, at the bottom of which you will see Borgo San Frediano, into Via di Santa Monaca. Then you follow it all the way until, at the corner, a place strikes your attention: it is S. Forno.
You enter. A fragrance of warm bread envelopes you. The room is large, it extends under a cross vault, between scraped walls, terracotta floors and arches. All around you there’s wooden furniture and ex-industrial tables house canned jars, gourmet sauces and homemade pasta packages. Fresh bread is displayed in wicker baskets next to a flower vase. The Berkel slicer stands on the counter, very red, behind which the cured meats are hung, while the glass case protects cakes, biscuits and fresh sandwiches.
You don’t come here just to buy bread and food. At the S. Forno you can sit down for a quality breakfast or a quick, fresh lunch. There is a roll of brown paper next to the counter on which you find the daily specials written, for you to order, and a blackboard with the menu of the week. On another side, a small table, two tea and coffee dispensers (not espresso, but American coffee) to fill up your cup.
You sit at one of the tables, admiring every detail: from the industrial-chic furniture to prints hanging on the walls. Every minutia, every object arouses desire and pleasure. You would like to drink all the organic juices lined up in the refrigerator, taste all the biscuits and meringues closed in elegant glass jars. In short, you would like to loot the whole bakery, or make it your second home.
You can have breakfast with ease. The tables are actually few and therefore you never find confusion. Starting from the morning, customers come to buy this or that product. Even if you are a tourist, you already feel in the middle of the secret life of the neighborhood, like spectators sitting and enjoying the peace of the morning. The American coffee is good and the milk fresh, as if it had arrived just before the campaign.
S.forno continues very well the high quality premises that, before its opening, its “older brothers” had established: the restaurant Il Santo Bevitore and the bistrot Il Santino. The fact that it is open all day, from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM, makes it truly one of the protagonists of the life of Oltrarno, a point of reference for what concerns high gastronomic quality.
The moment you’ll enjoy this place best is breakfast time, as we said, but if you are around the Oltrarno to raid beauty with wandering eyes through its ancient streets, its also ideal for a fast, healthy and tasty pit-stop. Or, simply to buy gourmet food prepared the original Tuscan way.