The Other Sides of Florence

Day two we woke up and took advantage of our Hotel Casci included breakfast of eggs, pastries, and cappuccino machine to fill up before heading out for the day. My sister had stayed at the same location and had so much fun with their egg cooker, and we made use of it as well making some soft boiled eggs to eat with our toast.

We had a morning reservation for the Uffizi Gallery where the Birth of Venus painting lives. The room where the painting lives was sort of dark so i decided not to even try getting a picture of the painting. The museum had a history of paintings of Mary aka the Venus which went from very 2D paintings to more realistic paintings, but overall were really just creepy looking.

After an hour in the museum we walked around the various leather vendors which Florence is famous for. All the shops basically sold the same stuff and eventually just had to choose one and start negotiations on some coin purses we bought for friends and family back home.

For lunch we headed back up towards the train station to visit the Central Market which reminded me of Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market where you can buy your fish, fruits, and oils, along with getting a really good cheap meal. I found Da Nerbone on TripAdvisor and thought it was something very authentic that i had to try.

We ordered a roast beef sandwich, a plate of lasagna, a porchetta sandwich, and another half liter of red wine. One thing i learned about florence is that they like their beef medium rare, but on the closer side of rare. The second thing i learned about Italy in general is that their bread isn’t made with salt which makes them on their own tasteless, but they always expect to eat their breads with salty meats which then adds the salt needed.

The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the outer parts of the city getting a closer look at some of the statues, buying a water painting from one of the many artists around the city and stumbling upon a world’s fair type of flea market with food and drinks from all over Europe.

For a midday break we headed across the river to Piazza Santo Spirito to get a drink at Volume. We learned there that Italy doesn’t have the same health codes as they do here in LA as a few people came with their dogs for a glass of beer or wine. It was a cool place to rest our feet and it was pleasant to hear some English being spoken between some other bar patrons and the bartenders.

For dinner we ventured out on our own without a plan or a guidebook. We passed by dozens of restaurants before choosing La Burrasca. The biggest reason that i chose this place was that as we were standing outside looking at the menu i saw a waitress head to the door and instead of greeting us to get us to eat there, she shut the door close. It seems like every restaurant serves the same dishes and all have some rick steves or tripadvisor sticker on the window so sometimes its the little things that make places stand out.

My assumptions were correct as the place wasn’t full but by the end of the meal we were sharing tables with another couple from the east coast. We ordered a Caprese Salad, Carbonara, Pasta Pomodoro, and a Steak (not a Florentine Steak). We ate it all and washed it down with another half liter of house wine and had a nice conversation with the couple next to us comparing travel stories.


Hanging out with David in Firenze

After two full days in Touristland it was time for us to get out of Rome and take the train  to Florence. We booked 1st class seats for both of our trains to Florence and Venice which was pretty fun with the free sparkling wine and super comfy seats next to the window.

We arrived into Florence around noon and checked into our our B&B which ended up being super convient to everywhere we were going. Although still touristy, Florence still has some charm which i understand why most people said it was their favorite city in Italy. We quickly found a popular eatery Trattoria Mario, that was crowded and everyone ends up having to share tables with other strangers. We finally got our first taste of good pasta with an order of the Penne Ragu, Veal Steak, and of course a half liter of wine.

After lunch we made our way down to the Accademia Gallery where Michelangelo Statue of David lives. Thanks to Joy’s booking of all our museum times in Florence we were able to skip the long line of people doing standby and got in pretty quickly. There are many signs around the museum stating that photography is prohibited and try as i might i couldn’t get Joy’s attention through her headphone tour. She got off one good shot before a large lady had to scream at her “No Pictures!.” While all that went on i made my way to the bench nearby and got a good shot with my iPhone. The museum was pretty small itself so we were in and out of there in about 30 minutes.

The good thing about Florence is that its not a very big city so there isn’t a need to learn the public transportation system and everything is at most a mile away. From the Accademia its a short walk to the Ponte Vecchio bridge where we took a lot of pictures and just hung out until dinner.

While lunch is very easy to figure out, dinner is a different story. There are many cheap and good places to eat that are only open for lunch which makes figuring out dinner a crap shoot. TripAdvisor reviews tend to be a mix of good and bad reviews for the same restaurant always battling between too expensive to not authentic or really good and so we just chose something nearby with a good number of decent reviews Trattoria Katti. Dinner was another half liter of wine and some tagliatelle, gnocchi, and tomatoes.

For dessert we headed back towards the Accademia to get some Granita from Gelateria Carabe. The lemon ice was a really good way to clean up the palate after so much cream and butter from dinner.