Trek Through Europe 3/4: FLORENCE
We’re highlighting these four cities by sharing our stories, showcasing local culture, and unveiling the local hot spots.
FOOD: La Giostra Restaurant - Half of our party had been to Giostra previously. The restaurant is almost always completely booked up. If you don't have a reservation the likelihood of getting a table is slim. We didn't have a reservation. But knowing that we were returning the owner, Prince, gave us a warm greeting and worked his magic to get us seated. All of a sudden champagne flutes were filled and the chef sent out multiple hors d'oeuvres all on the house. Altogether it was spectacular feast. We felt well cared for and full! If you happen upon Florence visit Giostra and order the beef carpaccio, spinach/ricotta ravioli, and let Prince choose the wine!
- Duomo - I actually didn't believe my eyes when I saw the grandeur of the Duomo upon turning the corner. It's rare when your imagination doesn't top reality. I still struggle comprehending how this vast structure began being constructed in the 13TH CENTURY.
- Fortezza da Basso - The Fortezza da Basso, built in the mid 1500's, was the host of Pitti Uomo during our stay. Attending the massive tradeshow, it's easy to forget that you're within the walls of a magnificant fortress that is rich in history, hundreds of years old, and over 861,000 square feet.
- Ponte Vecchio - I'm not sure there's a more beautiful riverside spot than right by the Ponte Vecchio. The Ponte Vecchio, or "Old Bridge" stretches across the Arno River. Documentation of its first construction dates back to 966.
CRAZY STORY: We came back to our AirBnB. It had been a long day of work and a wild night out. We quickly realized one of the doors that was usually propped open was closed and locked. So it was 1am, and we were stuck out in the streets of Florence. This was our final night in Florence and we were exhausted. None of the people who worked in the building were present, so we started ringing the apartments and calling the phone numbers listed on the doors. No answers. Next we walked around the massive block (about half a mile distance) to see if there were alternative entrances on the backside of the building. No luck. At this point it's 3am. The 4 of us sit down on the stoop outside the building and try to catch a couple "Z's" knowing that we'd be locked out on the streets until someone arrived in the morning. A friend and I, unable to sleep on the concrete (imagine that) decide to make the most of our circumstances and walk down the street to the Duomo for an impromptu iPhone photo shoot. This played in our favor because this was the ONLY time no one was at the beautiful cathedral and there is no way we would have ever been up at that ungodly hour to shoot otherwise. After spending 7 hours on the concrete outside our AirBnB FINALLY someone from the building arrived. We were thrilled. And then we found out that they couldn't even open the door. Long story short they unlocked an office that allowed us to climb through a window into the courtyard where we could finally unlock the door. One of us missed an international flight, and the others missed our trains to Milan. But we 100% made our naptime.
Grazie, Firenze! Thank you for making me walk your beautiful streets to work off all of your tasty food and wine!
Below are a few pictures from our quick stop in "The Birthplace of the Renaissance".