Florence, Italy

Volume 5, Issue 8; 05 Apr 2002

Florence, Italy

04 Apr 2002

Our bus tour continued over the mountains and down into Florence where we stopped at Piazza Michelangelo for a spectacular panoramic view of Florence (spectacular in spite of the coming rain).

Tonight we dine at Enotecca Pinchiori. Reputed to be one of the finest restaurants in the world and unquestioningly my favorite. I know of no other restaurant to which it can be compared.

Oh, we tried, half-heartedly, to resist the tasting menu. Honest.

After a few “amuse bouche” and some sparkling wine, the tasting menu took off with earnest. It proceeded roughly as follows:

  • Grilled scallops with shavings of anchovie and julienne of watercress

  • Crabmeat saled with aromatic herbs on a bed of chicory dressed with carrot vinegarette

  • Cannelloni stuffed with John Dory and onions on a bed of pureed eggplant with parsley.

  • Gargonelli with a rague of rabbit, peas, and fresh mint

  • Medallions of lamb with roast potatoes and a side dish of peppers made sweet and sour style

  • Goat cheese tart with apples and a vanilla sauce

  • A wonderful cheese course. Oh, surprisingly, I had to ask about the cheese course, but they were happy to serve one.

  • Pear pastry with caramel gelato, cardamom, and vin santo.

  • Lemon-basil sorbet with tiny pastries. There was a second sorbet, but neither Deb nor I can remember what it was.

Presented with a tasting menu, the obvious thing to do was let the sommelier help us out. He suggested an accompanying selections of wines: A white “Anima” 1999, a red “Lamaione” Castelgiocondo/Montalgino 1997, and a red Brunelo de Montalcino “Fanti” 1995. All superb (and perhaps poorly or innacurately recorded here, sorry about that.)

05 Apr 2002

This morning we started with a leather working demonstration at the Perruzzi store in central Florence.

I have mixed feelings about these commercial demonstrations (leather, jewelery, inlaid wood, etc. over the course of the tour). On the one hand, they're clearly designed to encourage the tourists to spend money and I suspect that there's some sort of kick back scheme operating here somewhere. On the other hand, it's something that some tourists have asked for and are expecting and the sales pitch is very low key. In the case of Perruzzi, I was actually thinking I might buy something so I didn't mind at all. But the sleeves weren't long enough, alas.

Deb and I skipped the official tour in the afternoon because we spent a week in Florence a few years ago. Instead, we used the time to explore some sights we missed before or wantedto see again, including the Laurenzian library, the Procession of the Magi at Pallazzo Medici Ricardi, and I made another climb to the top of the Duomo.

The Laurenzian library includes a staircase designed by Michelangelo and a fabulous collection of illuminated manuscripts and books. No photos allowed, alas.

On our previous visit to Pallazo Medici Ricardi, we had been forced to stand almost shoulder-to-shoulder in the Medici's private chapel to see the Procession. This time,we were the only ones there (delightful and unexpected because we had to buy a timed ticket).

The view from the top is spectacular. Try not to think about the fact that gravity is the only thing holding together the stones on which you are standing.

Off to Pisa on 06 Apr 2002, then Off to Zungoli on 07 Apr 2002.

Goodbye, Firenze!

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