My sister was in charge for the day we traveled from Rome to Florence on a high speed train. We arrived at the platform a little early and waited anxiously until our train arrived maybe eight minutes before the scheduled departure.
Our travel time via train was about ninety minutes. Just enough time to make good progress in the book I was reading and also stare out the window at the beautiful Italian countryside.
We arrived in Florence and we were introduced quickly to the Tuscan norm of paying money to use the public toilets. Truly, in Tuscany make sure you have those coins worth one or two euros. It costs to pee.
Our taxi driver took us to Hotel Berchielli and I fell in love with Florence in the backseat of that taxi watching the people in the streets, seeing the carousel in the town square with children dancing in bubbles blowing in the wind. If Rome felt historical and powerful, Florence felt whimsical and alive.
Our room was overlooking the Arno River and Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge not destroyed by Germans during World War II.
Of course we were hungry so the concierge recommended a restaurant nearly one hundred steps away called Mangiafoco. If you are in Florence ever, please eat here. The food was amazing and the service was even better. One of the servers was American and she saved us that day. She told us in Italy you are not supposed to tip. She said most menus will indicate that service is included on the bottom, it even says servicio on the check. She said maybe leave on or two euros but no more than that.
We loved her. She saved us and she recommended a fabulous place for dinner.
I don’t remember what I had there but it looked like this…
And then this.
Oooh that al dente pasta. It was scarfed down in momma with littles style.
Our next stop was to see The David.
We walked a few blocks and it started to rain when we approached the Accademia Gallery. We were confident because our tour was booked with vouchers in hand and we skipped the line only to find out our vouchers had to be redeemed ACROSS town.
I went. My sister and grandma stayed in the shorter line of people who had booked tours and I ran across town. In ballet flats. In the rain. While reading an Italian map. Like. A Boss.
I literally ran like I was training for a half marathon or something. My calves hated me the next day for running in those ballet flats. Good shoes really do matter when it comes to running.
We saw the art and The David, which was all amazing. I knew what I was getting into but truly seeing the sculptures up close is something everyone should get to experience. The David and the hundreds of other sculptures in the gallery.
After the David we went to the whimsical rooftop garden in our hotel for cocktails while we waited for the restaurants to open for dinner. Somehow I became in charge for dinner. I made the reservations for a little place across the Arno River called Pandehohio.
People from Florence actually say the heart of Florence is on the other side of the Arno River. They believe that is where the really food is and the real heart of the city is found.
First off, this place was recommended to us by the woman who saved us at lunch. She knew the owners and the owners were so sweet to us.
Secondly, this restaurant has Ohio in it’s name. Enough said here.
And lastly, everything was made on site. And delicious. I had the most delicious citrus shrimp ravioli I have ever tasted. I am still dreaming of this meal and hope that when Jesus comes to bring me home in the new heavens and the new earth, Pandehohio will be on every corner of every golden street.
We had tiramisu. My sister is making the face that we all were making.
And were then given free limoncello. Our first of the week. Very strong but necessary to try a little while you are in Italy.
I love this picture of my sister.
Florence is amazing. If I ever go back to Italy I would spend an entire week there. I would see the Duomo and go to the top and also see the Uffizi Gallery. Probably even eat at Mangiafoco and Pandehohio every single day.
Day two in Tuscany is tomorrow. It was my favorite day of the whole trip.