Archives for posts with tag: Florence

The past couple of days have been just what I had dreamed about what a sabbatical in Italy would be like—only better.

It is that last lazy but antsy week of summer. Jenny’s Uncle Sy and Aunt Roberta are visiting us and raved about a restaurant they enjoyed in Florence. So we decided to make an impromptu visit to the city. It was unbelievably easy. Trenitalia has hourly train service between Rome and Florence, and for the month of August children travel free. We got a great last minute “Big 10” discount at the Westin Excelsior. And so the four us threw a few items in Eli’s school backpack—our only luggage item—and headed off to Florence the next day. (This marked a new transition for our family: the kids are now big enough that this was the first time we needed to get two hotel rooms instead of squeezing into one!. . .travel just got a bit more expensive for us).

The train ride was easy and extremely comfortable. We hadn’t expected the cabin to be so comfortable, nor had we known that there would be a snack and beverage service during the trip. Eli said that he really enjoyed traveling by train and it really was relaxing not to have to deal with the hassles of an airport.

Waiting to go into the Uffizi Gallery, Nell was reading up on the art she was about to see.

We usually enjoy planning our trips. But it was fun to head off with no real plan or even a map. We knew we wanted to see some of the Uffizi and used Trip Advisor to book a tour. We had great luck with our museum tour in Bilbao and none of us know very much about Renaissance art. The operator, ArtViva, was fantastic. And one of my most delighted moments of the summer was watching Nell go through the museum. She listened to the guide with rapt attention, pushed her way to the front to stare at the paintings, asked the guide great questions, and after two and a half ours—when we were all exhausted—was disappointed that the tour was ending and felt the time had gone too fast. “This is my sort of thing,” she said about the museum. While looking at Botticelli’s “Primavera” Nell came up and whispered to me that she thought it was strange that Venus was clothed, because she had learned earlier that Venus was always painted naked. It seemed a good observation. And the guide went on to explain later that there was some thought among art historians that the figure in the painting might not be Venus because the character is clothed. So Nell may, indeed, have found her “thing.”

Ordinarily, I never would venture into a restaurant near the Duomo in Florence, where the food is inevitably mediocre and overpriced.   But Jenny had a great foodie app, where the reviewer began:  “. . .     Ordinarily, I never would venture into a restaurant near the Duomo, but. . . “ So we decided to give it a try. And it was fabulous. We began with an item listed on the menu as “Fresh Home Made (really!) Mozzarella with Fantasy Salad.” How could we resist a menu item that had the words “really” and “fantasy” in it? It was truly the very best mozzarella that we had ever tasted, on a bed of flavorful, spicy arugula and succulent bright red cherry tomatoes. I had green potato dumplings with truffles in a parmesan crème. The dumplings were light pillows that were packed with flavor that highlighted the rich truffles floating on top. And the parmesan crème wasn’t really a cream, but a light sauce that tasted like pure, silky, nutty parmesan cheese. The meal was perfect, the service charming and casual. . . it was one of our best all-around meals in months.

Try it:

Osteria CipollaRossa

Via dei Conti, 53

Heading off to climb the Duomo.

After climbing to the top of the duomo, which afforded a fantastic view of the city, we still felt full from lunch. But we walked past Carapina– reputed to be one of the finest gelato shops in all of Italy. We had to try it, and although we’ve become quite judgmental about our gelato, the stuff here really blew us away. One of the first things that we noticed was a display on the wall, showing each month of the year and what fruit flavors of gelato are offered during each month based upon what is in season. . .a very good sign. We sampled the Brazilian chocolate, the sour cherry chocolate, the peach, the plum, yogurt, and the milk and fresh mint flavors. Each flavor was the best we had ever had (the next day Eli went back and requested two scoops of the peach!). A good sign: the mint gelato was nearly white. . .as it should be (avoid the places with artificial bright green!). The gelato didn’t last long, but we walked for a few blocks sampling each others flavors and simply repeating to each other that we couldn’t believe how delicious it was.

If you are in Florence, it is a real treat:

Carapina

Via Lambertesca, 18r

I’m still pinching myself that we could make a trip like this so easily. We all had such a lovely time that walking back to the train station we were already making plans to return.

— Seth

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This is a picture of me and Eli on top of the Duomo.

A few days ago, my dad said “Let’s take a train to Florence tomorrow.” So, we did what everyone would do: we bought tickets for a train to Florence!

When we got there, we wandered around and saw the city, but the three things I remember most are…

1. Climbing up the Duomo

2. Going on the bridge with shops (Ponto Vecchio)

3. Going to the best art museum in my life (Uffizi Gallery). And just if you’re wondering, our guide’s name is Liz.

This is a picture of me admiring the jewelry stores on the Ponte Vecchio.

We also found the best gelato place ever!

I really loved Florence!!!!

– Nell

Here are some of my favorite paintings from the Uffizi: The Birth of Venus, Madonna and Child with young St. John, The Venus of Urbino, Primavera (Spring)

At the top of the Duomo.

Well we’re on the train to Florence right now.

By the way it’s so easy you just hop on an hour long train from Rome and you’re at Florence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I mean there were a lot of fun things, but the 3 things that stood out the most are…

* The restaurant didn’t have menus so you told the waiter what kind of food you like and they keep bringing you courses of food (and not to mention 3 courses of alcohol). At the end of the meal the owner comes and asks how the meal was. We said good so the boss asked the waiter what we had and the waiter said side dishes so the owner takes a piece of paper and writes down a random number and that’s the bill.

The Ponte Vecchio.

* Now, have you ever walked on a bridge with stores and houses on it?

Well there’s a bridge called Ponte Vecchio but it was too crowed to enjoy.

Watching a funny mime outside the Uffizi Gallery.

* So we are at the funnest part. (Also the stinkiest). We were climbing up the tallest building (top of the Duomo) 467 steps, behind this man who kept stopping and was constantly farting. But once we made it to the top, you could see all of Florence!

THE END good bye Florence

-Eli