Yesterday when I was walking in the cold light misty rain around Florence, I was trying to think about what this city feels like. It’s steeped in history like Rome, but it doesn’t feel old or historical, it feels just like it should, that the old buildings and museums are exactly as they should be, no matter what century we were in. Then I thought – oh, the food, yes! When I travel to a new place, I normally check out TripAdvisor or some other site or guidebook to steer me in the right direction on food. While I’m sure I could get a less than stellar meal in Florence, I’m not sure how. Even stopping at Joe’s Ravioli Shack seems to net a delicious homemade ravioli in a perfectly spiced sauce. Not the best one in Florence, but certainly better than almost anything I could get back home.
So, yeah, the food. Gelateria. I did try the one ya’ll recommended on Tuesday, and the darn thing was closed, closed until April. There are some drawbacks about coming in the off-season. The good part is there’s no crowds, you can get into any museum the same day, no lines, you can sit on the benches around David with the other four people there and contemplate a world where someone chiseled away that masterpiece out of a block of marble no one else wanted.
The wine? Well, absolutely, Diane, I did try that Antinori restaurant with their own wines. I can’t even talk about the papardelle with the pigeon sauce without drooling, but what’s not to love about cheap’ish Italian house wine that’s, well, not cheap anywhere else, but is reasonable at that one restaurant by the glass.
And nothing really explains it except Florence is a city that is completely comfortable being exactly what it is, which is indefinable.
Everyone should spend three days in Florence, and throw out the guidebook and just get a map and wander, but do it in the offseason. You may miss a few choice gelato-makers, but what you’ll get in return is the city that breathed life into Michaelangelo and Dante.
And tomorrow I go home, and that doesn’t seem possible because there’s so much more I want to see, and today won’t be enough time. Hey, that means I need to come back.
Perfume? Oh, yes, I do have a date with IPDF. March, that place is across the street from the Rivoire, which is closed for the off-season, but is the home of delicious hot chocolate and desserts – according to what I’ve heard, but not experienced. So I’ll have to wing it without the Rivoire to curl up and sniff at. Santa Maria Novella is not far away, and if today doesn’t turn into a drizzlefest, it’s on my list of places I’m going to try to get to – well, unless I wind up mired down in that wine bar I want to get to on the other side of the river.
I better hit post here soon. My European insomnia is out in full force this week, where I can’t get to sleep until 2 a.m., and then I sleep in until noon, except when I need to set my alarm and write a blog post.
Of all the places all of you have traveled, what has been your favorite and why? Feel free to have more than one favorite and one reason. I’m hitting the far end of my wanderlust since I’ve been traveling too much in the last three months, and I’m ready to be home for a good long while.