Just a bit more on my Florence getaway.
What we did, where we ate, and just how much gelato did I consume? I cannot answer all of these, and will not answer the gelato question (somewhere between slightly shameful and consuming my body weight amounts), but here are some more photos and a small sampling of the sights we saw and places we ate.
Carousel in the Piazza della Repubblica, Santo Spirito, view of Duomo from Palazzo Vecchio
Inside Palazzo Vecchio
My old art supply store: Zecchi, and a vintage shop on Via San Gallo, featuring your quintessential American clothes.
The famous pharmacy, Farmaceutica de Santa Maria Novella, dating from 1612. They still sell an entire line of perfumes, creams, herbs, teas...practically anything.
They even have a line for pets. I just adore the logo in the shape of a cat.
Dinning, wine shops, etc.
CIRO AND SONS
I found out about this place while searching for restaurants who offered gluten free pasta options. From the looks of the outside we almost changed our dinner plans. As my husband said, it looks like one of those places with pictures on the menu and it's located, right near San Lorenzo, had me worried it was a tourist trap. Once inside it was much more charming. Nice design, and not your traditional tratoria, but it still had the kitschy charm of family photos on the wall and the family running the joint. Oh, and most importantly, the food was great. I got to have pasta, bread and the most delicious nutella crepes for desert, all gluten free.
via del giglio 28r Florence, Italy
t. +39 055 289694
Great lunch spot if you are in the Santa Croce area. It felt very authentic (no English translations on the menu here) and is run by two brothers. It seems like a popular lunch place for locals as we sway many a Italian business men enjoying lunch there complete with a glass of red wine. Why can't we adopt the whole drinking wine at lunch?
Corso dei Tintori 50122 Florence, Italy t. +39 055 244285
Located right near Santa Croce and Del Fagioli we found this delightful wine shop recommended to us by my aunt. (Don't worry this prego lady only tasted.) The owners, Tony and Laura Sasa are wonderful and have shipping back to the states all set up.
Corso de Tintori
Ora d’aria Ristorante
I read about this in the New York Times and Frank Bruni loved this place. It is definitely one of those "dining" experiences, and while we enjoyed it (it was okay) what was more fun was the little "show" that occurred while we were there. The kitchen is on full display to the diners, behind a wall of floor to ceiling sliding glass doors. Cool, right...well wait. Another pair of American dinners were seated slightly after us, right in front of the glass. The scene played out like this:
Man and woman exclaim what foodies they are.
Man and woman order many courses and much wine.
Pasta course arrives, woman does not like it.
Woman sends it back.
Waiter walks into kitchen with rejected dish and has to tell chef
Not pleased with the critique the chef looks through the glass as if he wants to murder the woman.
A silent ballet continues with the chef shooting death looks at the woman, and she pretending to be oblivious to the chef's glares, feet away with only a glass door between them.
In short, go for the dinner and stay for the show. Open view kitchens are fun for many reasons. :)
Via dei Georgofili 11 R Firenze
tel +39 055 2001699
We stayed at the JK Place located in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella. The hotel is a pet among the design world and I can see why. Impeccable decorated, in a chic but non stuffy way, this small hotel is a dream. The service is wonderful and the food is fabulous. Our room was ready when we arrived with no sleep and jet lagged (I think my baby discovered kicking on the transatlantic flight and thought it would be fun to practice a Zumba routine the entire time), and after a long day of walking. the common areas were a welcome oasis from the bustling streets of Florence.
It is difficult to visit Florence and not get caught up in a Chevy Chase style European vacation sprint to see all the greatest hits. There is so much art and history there that you feel if you don't try to see it all, you are not taking advantage of all the city has to offer. I can definitely get in my art history major nerd mode, but I was determined to take it slow and really enjoy it. Plus I wanted my hubby to love the city as much as I do, not feel like he was on some death march of Italian art history. I think he did. :) It was a wonderful little "baby-moon."