It is more than once that I have contributed to the number of tourists who, between April and September, outnumber the local population of Florence, Italy.
Relax. I am not readying to prattle on about the history, culture, or art that, according to Wikipedia, draws two million visitors a year to Florence, the world’s 59th most visited city.
On the contrary.
What follows is great stuff that you never hear about … stuff that, in one way or another, has led me to something good to eat or drink while traveling in Florence.
But, today is such a rainy, overcast, chilly afternoon in New England that I shall first require a motivating energy to recount this Florentine reverie:
My mantra, please:
OK: We can now proceed 😉
Yes, I know, in Italy it’s called a Panino. But, when I walked into a shop so hungry that my stomach was beginning digest itself, it was “sandwich” that my brain was screaming for. Now, to this point, I have never seen Finocchiona on anyone’s list of motivating reasons to travel to Florence. But, if you suspect that “food & wine geek” is a label that might even remotely apply to you, I suggest that this regional specialty pork salami, uniquely flavored with fennel seeds, should reside comfortably near the top of whatever short list you are keeping to justify getting to Florence.
Opportunities for the Unexpected, Romantic and Quirky
After a drive through the gorgeous hill country surrounding Florence, we meandered far enough to arrive in Anghiari, a fortified medieval hill town. On foot, amid gathering clouds, we followed winding stone streets upward, until arriving finally at Caffé Giardino del Vicario, whose backdoor opens to a panoramic vista high above the ancient town. What happened next can only be appreciated by those romantic and quirky enough to know that a glass of vino served at a ringside seat to a totally unexpected thunderstorm of biblical proportion is an opportunity not to be missed.
Al Fresco Dining
One certainly doesn’t need to travel to Florence to dine al fresco. But, surely, Florence is one of the best cities in the world to enjoy that favorite pastime of open air dining. Whether at a sidewalk restaurant or in the hills above the city, dining al fresco is an essential part of the Florentine summer. If you are unmoved by the ambience of a countryside dinner taken amid olive groves, grape vines and cypress trees, well, check your pulse. You may be dead.