Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Florence


While sifting through my name cards today, I found an old reservation card for dinner at Trattorie 4 Leoni. I was indeed fortunate to eat at a restaurant which requires a booking way way in advance. Thanks to Francesco who pulled some strings, we found ourselves seated at a table in this old restaurant (founded in 1550) hidden away in Piazza della Passera (passera is the Florentine expression for pussy), a part of the old Florence that you can't find on the maps.

Only the true Florentines know this crossroads that is situated between via dello Sprone, via de' Vellutini, via de' Sapiti and via Toscanella, where many years ago there was a brothel that contributed to the name of the square.

With such a rich heritage, it is no wonder our friend raved about it for days prior to the visit. The first thing that strikes you are the walls, fully adorned with photographs of famous celebrities and sports personalities who had dined there. To be seated there amongst the stars is considered an honour, to dine there is heavenly bliss.

It has such an extensive menu, ordering presented a challenge. I settled for the highly acclaimed Pappa al pomodoro. The restaurant is mostly renowned for its steaks, each averaging a whopping 800g!

Of course I'm kicking myself now because I failed to take any photos of the restaurant and the food. I did, however, take a photo of the beautiful sunset over the Arno River enroute to the restaurant.

We lingered by the bridge, enchanted by the gorgeous scenery until Cesco made us run to the restaurant before they cancelled our reservation.

If you appreciate art, history and food, you will love Florence. The museums, palaces, and churches there house some of the greatest artistic treasures in the world which explains why it is always crowded with tourists. You would need to spend days to see everything because there is always a line to get into the museums. It's like waiting in line for the rides in Disneyland!

For those who are in a hurry, there is art in every street, vicolo (alley) and piazza. Florence is like an outdoor museum. The architecture is Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance; and there are statues and works of Michelangelo, Botticelli and a magnitude of artistic works in every corner. At the pinnacle of the city is the impressive 13th Century Duomo, Bapistry and Belltower and the Santa Croce Church.

I spent an entire day wandering through some of the oldest streets in the city until I reached the Arno River, crossed the Ponte Vecchio and experienced the "newest" area of Florence, the Oltrarno.

While I like Florence, I dislike jostling with the crowd during the day. From here, you can travel to the enchanting countryside in less than an hour. I was so tempted to go to Sienna in search of Frances Mayes Bramasole but I had to return to Lucca that night and head north to Trieste thereafter.

A parade was going on when I arrived.

The architecture in Florence can take one's breath away.


Even the street lamps are artistic.

Old world charm in the streets of Florence.


Hordes of tourists during summer.

A replica of Michelangelo's David flanked by Baccio Bandinelli's Hercules and Cacus at Palazzo Vecchio.





The statue of David at 'Piazzale Michelangelo'.

7 comments:

The World According To Me said...

I would love to visit Florence. Italy is on my list of places I must go to.
Great pictures. And wow, that restaurant was old.

SOUL: said...

my mother in law is there right now.. well, in italy -- maybe not florence. i'm not quite sure where she went.

i love to read about your travels, you get so excited. and it puts me right there. :))

can you read "asian"? i don't know just what language it is.. but it's on my monday post. can you see?

happy humpday-- or thursday. or whatever...
don't worry, be happy :))

WaterLearner said...

Ting,

You must stop doing these nice travel posts ... I am on the verge of applying two weeks leave on impulse and just flying to Europe!!

Your posts bring me such wonderful memories of my days in Germany, Holland & Spain!!

Hope you are doing well.

Blur Ting said...

World - You will love Italy. Besides, it is just a short flight or train ride away for you! We have to fly across the world to get there. Go, go!!

Blur Ting said...

Soul - Wow, it's a nice time to be there now when it is not scorching hot. I'm sure she'll have a great time. I met lots of American tourists in Italy.

Yah, I do love traveling! I get excited just thinking about the places I can go to :-)

Blur Ting said...

Karen - You've spent many years in Europe, so you must know how lovely the places are.

But really, you're in the best position to travel you know. Just apply leave and go.

I'm beginning to find that family holidays for me is going to be very tough because both my kids' school holidays do not coincide. When YK graduates, he will be in the army, so traveling together is again ruled out. Then it will be SK's turn. Geez!

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