Travel Diary: Florence
Bicycles and boots, that’s what I remember most about Florence, well that’s not totally true, but you know that I love fashion, so what did you expect me to say? Imagine the most fashionable girls wearing cowboy boots in the 90+ degree heat, with the cutest flowing summer dresses, while balancing a gelato, and riding a bicycle all at the same time. Talk about la dolce vita!
By the way, my new obsession is the vespa. So, Italian and chic. I want one. I think a vespa would be perfect for tooling around the French Quarter or Georgetown. What do you think? And don’t say that I am too old because I saw grandmothers tooling around Florence on vespas. So there. And it’s not a gas guzzler, so I would be greener than green. So there again. And the best part? I wouldn’t have to drive around looking for on-street parking. Sold!
Our hotel was situated in the beautiful Piazza Santa Maria Novella and from there we could easily walk the city, from the Arno to the Duomo. The centerpiece of the piazza is the regal basilica Santa Maria Novella, but very close by there is one of the oldest pharmacies in Italy, aptly called, you guessed it, Santa Maria Novella.
The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella was founded in 1200 by Dominican monks. It’s a treasure chest of delightful scents and fragrances in soaps, lotions, and of course perfume and is so nice to wander and browse that you truly loose all sense of time, but in Florence with so much to see, that is a no-no.
For our first lunch in Florence, we headed to legendary restaurant, Sostanza. Sostanza has been serving the same menu since 1869, so of course you drop all pretense at the door. It’s tiny and very rustic and everyone sits at communal tables, so you get to know the other patrons instantly.
And everyone orders from the same menu with no dietary substitutions like “sauce on the side”.
Forget it. The Chef, aka Soup Nazi’s cousin, would never allow it!
Our lunch guests consisted of some local Italian gentlemen and a nice family from Germany, and while there may have been a bit of a language barrier, we all could agree on one thing, the Pollo Al Burro (butter-fried chicken) was sinfully delicious. This was evident, of course, because we were all smiles and bursts of laughter as a half-pound of butter dripped down the sides of our mouths!
This simple 18th century meal gave our viewing of Michelangelo’s David at the Accademia, a run for its money, well…almost, but I would definitely recommend that you reserve a seat at Sostanza on your next visit to Florence, especially if you’re adventurous and don’t mind a little butter.
Photos © 2010 Zavvi Rodaine.com
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