To start, I love Florence. But to be honest, that’s nothing new. I have been in love with that city since I first visited 5 years ago. But it was amazing to be in the city (even if it was just for a weekend) as a resident. Lizzie’s apartment is located in a great location, just north of the Pointe Vecchicio and within walking distance of EVERYTHING.
I flew in on a Thursday and was lucky that Lizzie only had one class. So while she went to class, I caught up on my sleep since my flights to visit her started at 430 am. That night we went to dinner with her flatmates and some of her other friends, all of whom attend Iowa State and are in her fashion program in Italy. We went to dinner based on a recommendation from Benji, who had found the restaurant on his most recent trip to Florence: Za-Zas. Dinner was good and a nice way to fall back into the Florentine lifestyle of eating, drinking, and (as Lizzie says) “be-ing”.
The next morning Lizzie and woke up and walked around the city. We were going to climb the Duomo (in typical tourist fashion), but seeing as neither of us is really a morning person, we arrived at the Duomo after a long line had formed. We were both content to enjoy the Duomo from the ground and continue our walk to an excellent market. In an effort to get back into photography, I brought my manual SLR camera in addition to my digital and attempted to get some cool artsy shots of hanging slabs of meat and wonderfully colorful fruits and veggies.
Walking around the market helped us work up quite the appetite, so we stopped for sushi at a fun little restaurant near Santa Croce Church where the dishes move on a conveyor belt in front of your seat. Rested and rejuvenated, we continued walking on the final touch to our meal: gelato. I introduced Lizzie to Vivoli, a favorite of Mr. McPherrin, and Lizzie has since proclaimed that it is one of her 3 favorites in Florence.
Post gelato, we started our shopping spree, which ended poorly for my wallet, but great for my bag collection as I acquired a very unique and stylish brown and black leather bag, which I later wore to dinner.
For dinner we went to a hip lounge, jazz bar restaurant overlooking the Arno River and with a great view of the Uffitzi Gallery and Pointe Vecchico. I had wonderful baked ravioli and introduced Lizzie to the wonder that is Prosciutto and Buffalo Mozzarella. Delicious. After dinner, we again sampled another of Lizzie’s favorite gelaterias, but not without racing against time to get there before it closed. We went to what lizzie calls “the Yellow one” across the Arno from the Ferragammo building.
The next day we managed to avoid the rain and Lizzie and I took a trip to the Boboli Gardens near Piazza Pitti across from her school. It was wonderful to look out at the city (and I managed to take lots of photos).
Before dinner, we made some appetizers and then headed to a wine bar that Lizzie had been dying to try because of the magnum sized bottles of Veuve Clicquot Champagne that she spied through the window. We went…and it was horrible. There was no one else in the place and some sort of sports show was on the TV when we walked in. Ok, it could get better. We ordered a glass of champagne each which was served in wine glass. Ok, not a total mood killer. We were served peanuts. What?! Champagne and peanuts doesn’t really sound like a winning combination. Needless to say, we finished our drinks and went on our way.
Instead of going straight to dinner, we decided to try a different wine bar across from Piazza Pitti, literally next door to Lizzie’s school. We found a winner. The room had wine racks up to the ceiling which was easily 18 feet high. We ordered a great Chianti Classico and a little tapas sampler. I easily could have sat there for hours and chatted with the sommeliers, but we had to go to dinner.
For dinner, Lizzie chose one of her favorite restaurants in Florence: Quattro Leoni. It’s the oldest restaurant in Florence, and its no wonder why it still exists. The food was phenomenal. Unfortunately, Lizzie and I were a little full from all the snacking, that we split pear and asparagus ravioli (to die for) and a small filet. Good food was definitely not something I went without on my trip.
The next morning, the rain found us. Since I live where it barely rains, I don’t even own an umbrella, so purchasing an umbrella was one of the first items on the agenda. After crossing it off the list, Lizzie and I made our way over to a flea market a little north of Santa Croce. Lizzie found a very cool and ornate key that she put on a chain and made into a nice necklace. I found 2 technical graphic prints for an Ionic column and a Roman Column that the woman said dated to the 1850s (not sure if I believe her, but I really like them), that I will be getting framed upon my permanent return to the US.
After that we stopped again for food and wine, because after all we are “never-miss-a-meal-Caspers”. Later in the day, we also had some cappucino and a carousel ride (only 1 euro!). We also hit a fun little vintage store where I helped Lizzie find a cool blue and white shirt. We capped off the day with another fabulous meal at Acqu Due, where we sampled “blueberry steak”. It’s a filet with blueberry sauce. The sauce must be reduced with red wine or something, but it was AMAZING. If you ever go to the restaurant, you need to order it because it was unreal how good it was. We finished our meal and raced again across Florence to get one last fix of gelato before bed and an early waking to catch my 7am flight…