Florence was a dream. Some of my fondest family memories were made in Florence. After hopping off the train from Venice on my brother Jared’s birthday we were determined to not waste a minute. While our parents dealt with the hotel and such, the two of us wandered the city until dark before meeting our parents for dinner. We immediately felt that same homey feeling our parents have been telling us about for years. The Grossmann’s adore Florence.
Acqua Al 2
Although that looks like homemade kraft mac and cheese it was the most delicious vodka sauce I have had in my life. The pasta was a perfect al dente. We came with friends our first night in Florence and returned the last night before we hit Rome.
The most delicious paninis. Mine had pesto, turkey, cheese, tomato, and so many more fresh ingredients. I love a good sandwich and this is for sure the best one in Italy.
A famous spot in Florence for good reason. The food was overwhelmingly good and the vibes were incredible. The owner is an eccentric man who has gold bracelets up both arms to his elbows. We still sprinkle their balsamic on our Caprese at home but it does not compare to the fresh ingredients at La Giostra.
The charm that this bridge carries is unforgettable. Like a little city over the Arno. Shopping it may be chaotic but the views are unparalleled. Our balcony had a straight view of the Ponte Vecchio making it such a large part of our trip. I couldn’t look away.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore
Known as the Duomo, the architecture of this Cathedral is incredible. The precise detailing and structure relative to its massive scale and time of construction are hard to fathom. I’m much too claustrophobic to climb the 463 steps to the top, but Jared went by himself like the brave tourist he is.
Renaissance art was a highlight of the trip for me. The most wowing piece was for sure the David. It is incredible how Michelangelo carved something so lifelike and perfect out of a block of stone. What really struck me are Michelangelo’s “Prisoners” or “Slave” statues leading up to this massive work. They are unfinished, which leads many people to believe they portray the eternal struggle of human beings. I believe in the theory that he had found the sculpture in the stone and felt no reason to continue freeing them.
New Years is always special but this one is my most favorite. We waited on our balcony and watched as people began crowding the streets and the Ponte Vecchio. When the clock struck midnight we cheered with the people, popped Champagne over the Arno, and watched fireworks light up Florence. It was beyond belief.
Waffle Nutella Sandwich
You can always count on me to stop for dessert when I see it. I had been smelling the waffles all through Florence as they were sold in almost every Gelato store. Finally, I got one with a creamy layer of Nutella in the middle. It was so warm and sweet.
This was so yummy and the most hands-on cooking class I’ve ever participated in. We went to the market to pick out fresh ingredients and then straight to the kitchen to make lunch. We got to make homemade pasta, sauce, pizza and an artichoke appetizer all from scratch. It was so delicious. We took our class at Touch Bistro and then came back the next night for the restaurant’s dinner. Even more delicious, but not as rewarding.
An afternoon Cappuccino was a must. Sitting in gorgeous piazzas with a warm and rich cappuccino to give you an afternoon energy boost. What could be better? I am not a coffee drinker but that changes in Europe. It is just too good to pass up.
My parents had raved about Florence for all my life and it certainly does live up to the hype. I am so thankful for the wonderful experiences there and they have created the fondest memories. Grazie, Florence.