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Food In Italy
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A Day in Firenze with Italian life
Yesterday, our Italian Life team, Andrew, Riccardo and Montana (that’s me!) had the chance to leave Lucca for a day trip to Firenze. We started the morning on a tasty note, with a coffee and croissant, and then hit the road. (I always recommend driving from Lucca to Florence because the train is slow in comparison. But if a car is not an option for you then the train will do just fine.)
We arrived in Firenze about 40 mins after leaving Lucca and parked the car at the University to avoid getting a ticket for driving in the city center. When you park at the University you can easily take the local train for about 2 euro each and it’s six stops away from Santa Maria Novella. The train also comes every 6 minutes so it’s very convenient.
but first pranzo
The first thing we did (after parking) was head to a nice yet underrated restaurant for lunch and wine. Cantinetta dei Verrazzano is a wonderful local spot that doesn’t appear to be a restaurant, but has tables in the back corner. I was skeptical about this place at first because there aren’t any typical Italian dishes on the menu. But wow!… I was blown away by the quality and taste of the food and the wine! The dish of the day was a zucchini quiche sitting on some baked parmigiano, served with a side of seasonal vegetables. Incredible!
I’m not usually one for red wine but their house red was smooth, easy on the palette and complimented the food perfectly. The red wine was so good I had to have a glass of rose’ which was equally as amazing. Overall Cantinetta dei Verrazzano is a 10/10 and I highly recommend a stop here when visiting Florence.
Verrazzano has a fascinating history in Italy and in New York. In Italy there is a castle that you can tour and learn more about. In New York there is a bridge named for Verrazzano that has authentic pieces from Italy built into it.
shopping and wandering about
After lunch, we walked to the Leather School at Santa Croce. In the back of the Church of Santa Croce there used to be a convent where the friars made all leather goods. Now it has been made into a school open to anyone who wants to study the art of making bags, wallets, jackets, etc. Even if you aren’t looking to purchase anything, it’s still fascinating to visit.
Now, Andrew’s favorite part; Leonardo bakery. Last year on Andrew’s birthday his family was running around desperate to find the perfect cake for him. They ended up wandering into this bakery, and bought a pistacchio panettone; a sort of fluffy, sweet bread. Ever since that first taste, Andrew has been obsessed with the pantone, so we went back to Leonardo in hopes of finding it once again. They remembered Andrew as soon as we walked in. They didn’t have the pistacchio (but promised to make one for his next birthday) so we bought a chocolate panettone. The owners also gave him a free jar of pistacchio cream and suggested we spread it on the inside of the sweet bread. Leonardo is a must stop for biscotti and panettone when in Florence. The owners and staff also speak English, so rest easy if you aren’t very confident in your Italian.
All in all I would say our day of “Italian Life in Firenze” was a success. We enjoy taking our time and not packing too much in so this was a perfect day of eating and wandering (and more wandering … and more eating….).
For a more eventful and detailed guide to Firenze including everything you need to do see, and eat, please read Montana’s Guided Visit To Firenze.