So when you have an Asian-American from Chicago working in Hong Kong marrying a Irish-South African (not a pretty mix) Londoner living and working in Seoul where do you get married?
Well not London as it too awesome and people might not want to leave (and the weather can occasionally feature rain). Definitely not Chicago as the filming of Transformers: Dark of the Moon is finished. Hong Kong is too expensive and a proper Cantonese style wedding would involve too many outfit changes. Seoul would lead to a people never resurfacing after the stag / hen do. So… Italy.
So it was ironic that our trip to Italy started and ended in Florence as Florence really is little America. Forget speaking Italian. What you really need to be able to do is speak Yank and wear your college sweatshirt without shame. The thing is that Florence is somehow still so beautiful and chugs along with its Renaissance history oozing out of every stone that it doesn’t matter at all.
My primary tip for getting the best out of Florence is, strangely enough, jet lag. A 6:00am am walk across the Ponte Vecchio to the Palazzo Vecchio drags you back to a time before cheap air-flights. As Florence then starts to fill up drift back south of the Arno to the Oltrarno and visit the Boboli Gardens and then perhaps back over again to the quieter neighboorhoods of Santa Croce.
One of the advantages of this plan is that you also get to eat one of Florence best but forgotten meals: breakfast. A rich and health destroying pastry and an angry dark espresso cafe eaten standing at a bar. There is a particularly cute cluster of them south and east of the Arno where Via di San Niccolo and Via San Miniato meet. Try Il Rifrullo and you won’t be disappointed.
- Il Rifrullo
- Via di San Niccolò, 55r, Firenze
As for food you can go ridiculously overpriced (see next post), bistecca fiorentina or… something more modern. We were particularly impressed by 5 e Cinque which was a modern casual organic/ biodynamic restaurant in the Oltrarno.
- 5 e Cinque
- Piazza della Passera, 1, Firenze
And then, finally being Florence you have the ice cream or gelato. The old classic is Vivoli which features in all the guide books and has the vintage decor to match.
- Vivoli gelateria
- Via Isole delle Stinche, 7r, Firenze
However, the real standout was actually the shop directly opposite 5 e Cinque mentioned above which seem to incorporate the same revellry in the organic/ biodynamic side of things as 5 e Cinque. Its name is the Gelateria della Passera and was the standout gelateria of the whole trip.
- Gelateria della Passera
- Piazza della Passera, 15, Firenze