Florence FavoritesTuesday, 11 July,
Each trip is carefully planned to ensure (as much as possible in
Pietra serena (the pale blue-gray stone utilized architecturally throughout Florence) lavabos, used by the monks to wash before eating, and a pulpit carved into the wall, where a brother read to the assembly as they ate, provide a feel of monastery life in the peaceful room in this less-discovered spot.
In the small refectory of San Marco is another lovely Ghirlandaio portrayal of the familiar scene, part of the museo di San Marco, best known for its’ monks cells individually frescoed by the remarkable Fra Angelico…we walk along the quiet halls, absorbing the details of intimate frescoes inside the small rooms.
And any Music and Markets day worth its name HAS to stop at a market! Surrounded by outdoor stalls stuffed with leather goods, Florentine papers, and David aprons,
Another don’t-miss stop in the Mercato is the Conti family’s stall, glistening with an array of jewel-like candied fruits, marmalades, vats, and jars. Judy Witt, of Divina Cucina in
We get in just before closing for lunch at Teatro del Sale, a private club (membership costs five euros) which is Fabio Picchi’s (of the Cibreo “empire”) latest brainstorm. Everything is served buffet style, with food coming out in waves, announced with loud yells from the kitchen. Fabio doesn't serve the more expensive dishes from Cibreo, but uses seasonal market selections with skill. One of the privileges of membership is observing Fabio and his crew at work in an open kitchen, which includes a wood-burning oven and hearth with a spit roaster. A really enjoyable place for all seasons – whether in the open and airy theater space for a market-fresh summer lunch, or cozy on a cushy leather sofa in a paneled gentleman’s-club-like room for a warming winter meal. And I can always count on Fabio’s amazing melt-in-your-mouth flourless chocolate cake for dessert – yum!
On our way to Piazza Santa Croce to check out the latest deals at our favorite gold shop, the Gold Corner, we stop by Lastrucci Pietra Dura, where the welcoming owners gladly show off their latest masterpieces, crafted of tiny shards of semiprecious stones, such as vivid blue lapis lazuli and deep green malachite. It’s a pleasure to watch them lovingly creating such beautiful pieces of art.
Crossing the Ponte Vecchio, we are delighted to spot an old family friend whom we haven’t seen in years, and stop to chat – what fun, to serendipitously bump into a
We love the Oltrarno, and usually stay on this more bohemian, craftsman-filled side of the river when we rent an apartment in
We stroll down the
Across the Santa Trinita bridge, the Santa Trinita church holds another Ghirlandaio gem – the jewel-toned nativity scene in the front right chapel. Again, a spot to sit and ponder beauty.We finish the day with a dinner in the fun atmosphere of Pazzi (on the corner of Via dei Lavatoi and Via Verdi). Paolo, the owner, isn’t in tonight, but the host and servers fill in with a few cheery songs and jokes, following his example, as they serve our tasty meal of typical Tuscan favorites. Paolo’s gnocchi a la gorgonzola has been our benchmark for the dish for quite a few years. I can still remember those meltingly delicious pillows blanketed in creamy sauce.