Florence is beautiful; the architecture, the art, the food, and there are so many restaurants to accommodate the so many tourists. We thought that going in late September, after school started, outside of the peak summer season, would find the city slightly less congested. Alas, it was not to be. This did not prevent us from enjoying what the city had to offer but the streets and museums were indeed very crowded which added to the heat and made me feel a little claustrophobic at times. Worth it? Without a doubt.
I had read about Tuscan and Florentine culinary specialties and was very excited to try Bisteca alla Florentine, which is a thick T-bone of Chianina beef (an Italian breed of cow that have been raised in Tuscany and surrounding regions for over 2200 years) served by the kilogram (1kg = 2.2lb). The steak is seared on both sides and served rare. I can take or leave a filet but serve me steak on the bone and I’m one happy gal. Pretty much every restaurant we passed by served Bisteca alla Florentine. In doing my research, the Trattoria Sergio Gozzi, which has been serving up the beefy goodness since 1915, was the place to go (and was still frequented by locals). During the week the restaurant is only open from 12-3pm and I had read that, in order to snag a table, one should arrive before 12:30.
We arrived just before 12:30 and were told we would have a 10 minute wait so we sipped prosecco outside while we waited in the bright, hot Tuscan sun and in no time the waiter ushered us in. We were seated at an antique, dark wooden, table that I couldn’t help but think must have been there since 1915. In fact, the only two chairs at the table were on the same side to allow room in front of the table for the waiters to pass by. I had read that the restaurant did not take reservations, though that was obviously not the case when the woman at the bar asked me if we had one when we entered. I felt lucky that we scored a table as a couple that arrived a few minutes after us were turned away. I assume because there are only so many people they can serve in a three-hour window and the remaining tables were spoken for. I snapped a photo of the back dining room as we were seated.
We ordered a 1kg steak, the minimum amount one could order and the amount suggested for two people. The chef came out from the kitchen so show us the steak he was going to prepare for us. I smiled, nodded happily, and he headed back to the kitchen. To accompany the steak we chose the Tuscan white beans (another local specialty), sauteed spinach, and fries. We also had bread and a carafe of Chianti that pairs well with the Chianina.
Very shortly, out came our feast. The steak was cut into slices and served with the bone. It was delicious. After several slices, I put the giant bone on my plate and managed to cut off a few tasty, crispy, fatty morsels. Had I been at home, I would have picked it up with my hands and gone to town. In retrospect, I should have asked if I could have the bone wrapped up “to take home to my dog.” For desert we split a small zuccotto; a tasty little dessert make with Italian liqueur, cake and ice cream (which hides inside for a delightful surprise).
Back to the Art. The highlight of our trip for me was seeing Michelangelo’s David. I have been lucky enough to have viewed many amazing, famous, historical works of art in my life, and David is one of the most impressive, and far exceeded my expectations. I didn’t realize how big the statue is. He is massive, standing 17 feet above the roughly 7 foot (this is my personal guess as the internet is not giving me a consensus) pedestal he is standing on, and is perfect from every angle. The veins and knuckles in his hands and feet, his muscles, the little indentations beside his knee caps, and as my mom said when I sent her some photos, “nice butt!”
In addition to David, the Galleria dell’Accademia, which is his home, houses several unfinished Michelangelo sculptures. It was really cool to see the figures that seem to be both actively emerging from the marble and frozen forever, unrealized.
We saw many other wonderful things while in Florence, and Phil wrote a detailed account of our trip here. I highly suggested you check it out. He also dedicated another post solely to some of the beautiful art we saw. Below I am going to leave some random photos of our trip. I hope you enjoy them. What can I say, we like pizza.