Wandering in Florence

Italiano per stranieri. Translation: Italian for foreigners. That is the title of my new book. After hearing Luigi repeat the phrase “Mia moglie non parla Italiano” for the 3 thousandth time, we headed straight for La Feltrinelli Liberie. Italy’s version of Chapters. Book number two is the Collins Italian Phrasebook. I have learned all the important phrases. Quanto costa il vino and un gelato per favore.

We had great plans for our first full day in Florence. Boboli Gardens was at the top of the list but by mid afternoon when jet lag was setting in and we were many footsteps away from Boboli, it dropped off our list. Sigh. What DID we do? We soaked up the sun in Florence, wandered through the San Lorenzo market with the throngs of tourists searching for a deal on leather purses and Italian scarves. Sadly, I wonder if anything sold at the market is genuine Italian. As we walked from booth the booth Luigi would comment “He’s not Italian” and I would keep repeating “You HAVE to quit saying that”. Ahhh…it was time to get the “real” Italian out of there.

We went on a search for some “real” Italian food. Luigi has a mental list of what “looks” authentic. The waiters cannot be wearing bright red or yellow suit jackets with white shirt and ties. The entrance is usually non-descript and sometimes looks more like Mama’s kitchen with a few tables and mismatched chairs. Luigi sniffed out Trattoria Antichi Canucelli and his instincts were rewarded. I rated my ravioli con asparagi 5 stars. Luigi’s Trofi alla carrettiera was a 3 star (the Italian is harder to please !) Looking for authentic “Italian” sometimes backfires when in search of a bagno (bathroom). I have experienced the  porcelain hole in the floor. I am happy to report this “authentic Italian Trattoria” is awarded my “Best Bagno Award”. I pushed the red button on the tank and voila the saran-wrap on the toilet seat moves for a freshly wrapped throne. Enough toilet talk.

Florence, at one time was full of artisans working out of small shops. As we passed a doorway of a shop selling hand painted trays, we noticed an older man working at the back of the shop. He described the labour intensive process in producing the trays and says that it is a dying craft, sadly. Not far from his shop, we stopped at the “Plenty of Wine” store where a lady in a sari was selling Italian wine (buy two – get one three!)

Luigi and I celebrated our anniversary at Francescovini Restorante. The meal was not great but the two Australian couples at our table were fun.

Next stop is Agritourismo Poggio Asciutto where the Vendemmia is starting. We will be helping to harvest the grapes!

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