Ciao Firenze!

© Jessie Kanelos Weiner
© Jessie Kanelos Weiner

It sounds embarrassingly French to say, but after several months without a vacation we were in desperate need to see something new. (You know that devastating moment when croissants lose their taste?)  With a home base is Paris, what city could possibly provide a low-energy, high-romance vacation for two?  Just four short hours from Nice, we spent 5 days recharging in Florence between Christmas and New Years.  I was a lazy traveler this time around.  I only had the simple intentions of seeing some Boticelli and finally finishing Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.  Although we had a guide book, our own two feet were responsible for our discoveries…

Our first evening, we stumbled upon a square at the other end of the Ponte Santa Trìnita.  The next few days, we tried every restaurant on the quaint square off the beaten path.  We shared our first bistecca alla fiorentina, the t-bone dream, at the warm Trattoria 4 Leoni, Via dei Vellutini 1/R Piazza della Passera 50125 Firenze. Otherwise, find Florentine specialties and homemade pasta at Il Magazzino Piazza Della Passera 2/3  50125 Florence, Italy.

Avoid the crowded gelaterias near the Ponte Santa Trìnita with their tourist-enticing, mile-high gelato mountains.  In Florence’s artisan spirit, why not try gelato made on the premises at Gelateria della Passera.  The pistachio gelato had the intensity and salty punch of a handful of the real deal.  At a cool 1€50 for cone, it was a cheaper thrill than that hand-carved artisanal chair.  Gelateria della Passera, via Toscanella, 15r-Firenze

The landmark Florentine cafe since 1733, GILLI is the go-to place for Old World charm and caffeine.  Skip the overpriced terrace and enjoy local color and an espresso con panna at the bar.  And don’t pass up the mouth-watering pastries and confections.

When we arrived in Italy, everything was delicious.  But after a while, I came to the conclusion that a restaurant is only as good as its ball of mozzarella.  A testament to my conspiracy theory, we returned to Trattoria Enzo e Piero several times, a warm mom and pop trattoria just a stone’s throw away from the mercato centrale.  Try the ribollita, the traditional Tuscan bread soup.

Gustapizza is a crowded, in-and-out pizzeria frequented by locals and tourists alike.  I enjoyed the gusta pizza: fresh mozzarella, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and generous wedges of parmesan cheese.  But beware!  Be prepared to play musical chairs before and after being served. Gustapizza, via maggio 46R Firenze.

I was enticed by beautifully-crafted leather goods and stationary at Fabriano Boutique.  Inspired dreams of being organized and leather-bound.  Fabriano Boutique Via del Corso, 59r 50122 Firenze.

Don’t miss a select collection of glossy fashion magazines and books at Fashion Room via II Prato, 7r.-50123 Firenze.

Ciao Firenze!

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