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Head to the Hard Rock Cafe for Music and Great Food

Did you know the first, original location of the Hard Rock Cafe was in London and opened in 1971?

Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton were two shaggy-haired Americans who just wanted to find a good American burger while living in London. Their solution was to open up their own American style diner in an old Rolls Royce dealership, calling it Hard Rock Cafe. In 1983, the second Hard Rock Cafe opened in Los Angeles and thus began the "global" spread of the diner.

While the brand has expanded and includes casinos, hotels and more, and is now owned by the Seminole Tribe from Florida, at the very base the Hard Rock Cafe remains what it always has been: a place to find great food when you are on the move. Any time you're in Tuscany and in need of some delicious food, head to the Hard Rock Cafe in Florence!

The Hard Rock Cafe in Florence

The Hard Rock opened its cafe in Florence on June 14, 2011, on the 40th anniversary of its very first London diner opening. The cafe took over the space in the historical palazzo that had housed the Gambrinus cinema for decades in the heart of Florence, just a block off Piazza della Repubblica. Read more about this historical palace here.  It is very easy to reach, as it is less just 2 blocks from the Duomo and less than 10 minutes walking distance from the main train station, Santa Maria Novella.

Great Quality Food

What you can find at all Hard Rock Cafes is a pretty classic menu, including the high quality of the ingredients employed. From fresh local produce and meats, the main dishes are all prepared with the best quality local ingredients to ensure that every dish on the menu is delicious. Specialty ingredients are sometimes imported to make sure the dishes come out right (think of Oreo cookies for the cheesecake but also the Hickory brisket to slowly create all of the SmokeHouse items on the menu).

The succulent burgers are made with local Chianina meat, the burger buns made in-house to assure the are the best flavor, freshness and softness. You should try out the Local Legendary Burger, made with a local flavors. In Florence, this means it includes porcini mushrooms, pecorino cheese and salami.

At all times of the day

If you're staying in Florence, you could head to the Hard Rock Cafe for a delicious breakfast which offers both Italian as well as international options. Starting at 8:30am, the coffee bar and lounge area are open and offer Italian and continental choices. A late morning snack or break would be perfect here.

If you have no fixed schedule and not sure when meals will be in your itinerary, then the Hard Rock Cafe is perfect! The kitchen is open from 12pm until 11pm. When you are out and about (or visiting museums at lunch time), this is the perfect place to grab a great meal without worry about a specific time for finding places open for lunch or dinner.

Buy your "Skip the Line" voucher »

If you're at the Hard Rock, make sure to print this voucher and get a complimentary collectible gift - a special gift just for our Discover Tuscany readers.

How about enjoying a Happy Hour with cocktails and appetizers? Between Monday and Friday, you will find Happy Hour Specials from 5pm to 7:30pm and at the main bar between 10pm and midnight on Wednesdays and Fridays when there is live music. All cocktails, long drinks and Nastro Azzurro tap beer and select appetizers are half price during these hours, making it a good deal for enjoying an aperitivo.

Live Music

Hard Rock's very first live music at the London diner was an impromptu performance by Paul McCartney and the Wings in 1973

Today, all of the cafes host live bands. In Florence, you'll find live music every Friday night and sometimes on Wednesdays too, depending on the month. Check out their webpage to see the month's current schedule to see who's on stage if you are in Florence soon, then stay updated on other special events and offers.

Rock Memorabilia

How did the rock memorabilia collection start? By 1979, Eric Clapton, one of rock's most incredible and enduring guitar gods, was a regular of the Hard Rock Cafe in London. Eric asked Isaac to hang his guitar over his favorite bar stool to "mark his spot." A week later, a package arrived with a guitar and a note that stated, "Mine's as good as his! Love, Pete." Pete was, in fact, the one and only Pete Townshend, guitarist extraordinaire for The Who. And so the collection began as a good old fashioned one-upmanship battle between two of rock's greatest guitar players.

Today, the collection has over 74,000 pieces which are distributed across the world and keeps growing every day. Pieces are donated by artists themselves, and others are purchased by the cafe. In Florence, you'll find many unique pieces, including 

  • Michael Jackson's stage pants from the Jackson 5's 1981 Triumph tour (by the cafe bar)
  • Jimi Hendrix’s shirt worn onstage at his Imperial College performance in London in 1967 (I read about this but now can't recall if I saw it... if you go, let me know where it is!)
  • the Vespa scooter used in The Who's 1979 film Quadrophenia (as you walk into the bar area, photo below)
  • John Lennon's black leather jacket worn in the 1967 film How I Won the War, directed by John's friend Richard Lester, who also directed A Hard Day's Night and Help! (above the front door)
  • from Italian rock band Litfiba: Piero Pelu's pants worn during “El Diablo” concert tour and Federico “Ghigo” Renzulli's guitar

Ask for a guided tour of the Memorabilia collection!

Rock Shop

In 1974, the London cafe sponsored a local soccer team, featuring the simple logo on shirts for the team. Extra shirts were returned to the cafe and given away to loyal customers. Pretty soon people started showing up and wanting to buy them, so Isaac and Peter knew a good opportunity and began to sell them.

The Rock Shop in Florence is open every day from 8:30am to midnight. It offers a lot of choices, from the classic tees to the annual collection of Hard Rock Couture to collectible pins as well as the Roxtars collection dedicated for kids, with 5 mascots and many ideas for cute gifts for them.

Arriving into Livorno or La Spezia?

If you're arriving by cruise ship in Livorno or La Spezia and planning to visit Florence, you can either organize your own transport into Florence or join a tour from your cruise ship called "shore excursions" such as this one.

If you're on your own or with a large group, you can ask for a guided group tour of the Memorabilia collection! You can also take advantage and have lunch there, but groups are encouraged to arrange ahead of time a personalized menu to save on time (especially limited when you are on a shore excursion when you are on a cruise vacation). In that case, get in touch ahead of time by email:

If you're visiting Florence with very limited time, I'd recommend you get the "Skip the Line" voucher below to book your visit and save time on lunch - while enjoying a delicious meal!

Buy your "Skip the Line" voucher »

Traveling during holidays

If you're traveling around Christmas, Halloween, Easter or Fourth of July (to cite just a few), the Hard Rock Cafe always organizes special evenings to celebrate! If you're in Florence over a holiday and are interested in participating, all you need to do is plan a bit ahead and contact the Cafe at the email to book your spot!

To keep up to date and follow Hard Rock Cafe in Florence, check out their site and make sure to follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Disclaimer: While this is a sponsored post, this article expresses my personal and honest opinion about the Hard Rock Cafe and its offerings after having eaten there numerous times. Our website visitors who visit the Hard Rock Cafe can download this coupon and redeem a free gift during their visit if conditions are met.

This is a Sponsored Article but reflects the honest opinion and experience of the author. More details »

Author: Lourdes Flores

I'm from California but have called Florence my home for over a decade. I love to explore Italy; it is a lot of fun to try to see everything like I'm seeing it for the first time, keeping you, our readers, always in mind. I enjoy sharing what I know and helping others as they make their travel plans for Tuscany through our Forum. If you have itinerary-related questions, please post them there!


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