A Few Florence Photos

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Nobody’s mentioned it here in Florence, or maybe they have and I just didn’t understand it in Italian. Or maybe it’s too early — it’s 7:00 AM and I’m posting some pictures before we have breakfast in our pensione and meet our driver, Guido, for a tour of Tuscany. I think he’s taking us to a little town called Lucca and a few others. We’re going to taste wine and olive oil.

So far, the trip has been fun. We took United to Chicago and flew direct on Alitalia (9 hour flight) with no problems. I even managed to sleep a little thanks to this special travel pillow which I’ll link to later if you’re interested. It’s for side sleepers. We arrived in the morning, took the train to Florence, and were wide awake and ready to explore.

Our hotel is a about a block south of Santa Maria del Fiore — better known as The Duemo.

It’s a great location for a hotel because if you get lost on the streets of the city, you can easily get back to the Duemo and follow landmarks from there. I’ll tell you more about the hotel later, but it’s a pensione called Hotel Beniviene.

Here’s a cookie idea for when I get home — giant meringues. This is not a cookie you see very often in Texas, though I did see meringues one time in a Brooklyn bakery.  In the background are cantuccini and what I did not take a picture of was the panforte, which is very popular here.  I haven’t tried that yet and am not sure if I’d like it.

I took that picture on our walk to The Pitti Palace, one of my favorite museums/palaces. It’s in an area just south of the Arno called Oltrarno. I’ll post pictures of the palace later. I figured you’d want to see the cookies first.

On our second day here, we strolled over to Palazzo Vecchio which we somehow missed on our last trip. It’s another Medici palace off a piazza called Piazza della Signoria. Piazza della Signoria is where the original David used to stand — the one that’s there now is a replica, as the original is in a museum.

There are other famous sculptures in the piazza as well, and I’ll post pictures later because I’m really skimming the surface right now.  Truly, the piazza is like a little outdoor museum and a wonderful spot in the city.  I will mention that this is the piazza where the monk Savonarola staged the bonfire of the vanities. Later, they burned him here.  Or so I’ve heard.

Time for breakfast!  More later. I have a couple of restaurant recommendations to add as well.  If you have one for us tonight — post it it!  So far we’ve eaten at 4 Leoni, La Giostra and Golden View Open Bar (because it was open on a Monday).

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  1. Kris Carpenter says

    I love the Duomo in Florence!!!! It has been too long since my last visit to Italy and I would love to go back – hopefully soon! Have a great trip and keep the pictures coming! I love them.

  2. Robin says

    Your pictures brought back many great memories of my first (and definitely not my last) trip to Italy last Summer. I got up early each morning before my traveling companions awoke and found my latte and croissant to enjoy while watching the city wake up.I watched the maintenance guys clean the Piazza della Signoria clean the area in a circular fashion and he offered me a ride on his machine. There were shop owners cleaning off the stoops of their stores by hand with such great care. I remember those meringues (and the giant ropes of licorice in Venice). May I suggest Trattoria Za-Za in the Piazza del Mercato Centrale (26r) to you? It was very reasonably priced and their truffled chicken dishes were marvelous. They had a cookbook which I now wish that I purchased for a souvenir of my trip. They were quite crowded during the Summer months – you may want to wander over there a bit earlier and shop through some of the market. (We were too late after our tour to Piza.) Have a fabulous trip!

  3. Lobean5 says

    While in Florence, I debated buying a jar of truffle salt. (I had just made a large purchase of a beautiful platter for my Mom and a serving dish for my sister and was amazed at the cost to ship them home.I needed to wait another 24 hours before I could make another ATM withdrawal.) I was down to my last euros and knew that I needed to pick up lunch for the train ride and my last scoop of gelato at Tranita. I borrowed a few euros from my friends and did indeed buy the salt. I am SO glad that I did!! It is incredible on a roasted pork loin and other meats! (Side note: By the time I reached Venice, my clothes were slightly perfumed with the truffle smell. I told my friends that I had no worries about the drug dogs in the airport, but the truffle pigs might be chasing me down.)

  4. gayle says

    What an excellent adventure! May I recommend my favorite restaurant ever, L’Osteria Di Giovanni (on 22 Via del Moro). It ranks #21 out of 626 Florence restaurants on Trip Advisor. Enjoy your trip!

  5. Lisa says

    I love meringue. If you get a chance try pavlova – delicious! Looks like your having a great time in Florence. Enjoy your holidays!

  6. says

    TLove the stories and memories. Also, thanks for the recommendations! I have noted them for the list. We’re back from a long and wonderful tour of Chianti area and have decided we’re in the mood for some of Florence’s best pizza. Our guide suggested La Bussola, so I think we’ll try that one. I’m definitely putting Da Giovanni and Za Za on the list.

    Great story about the truffle salt I’m going to the little Italian grocery store next door right now to see if I can find some.

  7. Lynn says

    Oh I love Florence – go to the department store right by the straw market – go up to the top floor which is so fun with kitchen stuff you will never see in US -there is a tiny cafe but go thru there to the roof terrace for a drink and snack – Fuzz will love it – you can see people on the top of the Duomo.
    wish I was there – ciao

  8. Linda says

    The Duomo was one of my favorite places on our trip to Italy. Amazing! As for food, I don’t remember any specific restaurants (we did a lot of sidewalk cafe eating), but don’t miss out on the gelato! Yum!

  9. says

    It looks like you’re having a fabulous trip! Thanks for posting the great pictures so I can virtually vacation.

  10. Valen says

    I’m so jealous, I have never been to Europe before. I hope I get to go someday. Gorgeous photos!

  11. says

    I have so many recipes for meringue cookies, but never have been tempted to make them until now. Your picture makes them look very good. I just might have to add it to my list.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.

  12. PhillyGirl says

    Wow, that Fuzz is such a lucky girl! Getting to travel to so many places! I love Italy but the Euro/US exchange rate not so much. But a top-to-bottom tour of Italy, including Florence, is on my “bucket list” so for now I’ll just look at your pics and dream…

  13. says

    Ah Firenze — I studied abroad there one semester at Lorenzo de’ Medici and fell in love! I dream about Trattoira ZAZA’s spinach ravioli with truffle sauce and Acqua al 2’s “Fileno al Mirtilio” (aka hand carved filet topped with a blueberry sauce– sounds weird but it delicious!!!) have fun!

  14. says

    4 Leoni is where I had probably my favorite meal on my Italian vacation in 2001. I saved their business card just so I’d remember them if I ever make it back.
    Looks like a wonderful trip!

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