Making our way through Italy, next stop: Florence!
But first, we have to tell you about a stop we made on our way to Florence from Venice. Jeff decided to make a pit stop in a town called Ferrara. We’ve been using Trip Advisor and Google reviews to choose places to visit and eat at lately. Before this trip we regularly read reviews for everything (food, places, gear, etc.), but we never, ever left a review. Now Jeff is pretty dedicated to leaving reviews for other people to read. The key is that he will leave an honest, constructive review that will help people make a decision. Public service announcement: if you like OR don’t like an establishment or company, leave them a review so other people (who are just like you!) can use them. Life is too short to eat mediocre food, or make poor decisions about purchasing sub-par junk on Amazon.
Anyway, let’s get back to the food! Jeff found 2 places for lunch on Trip Advisor in Ferrara and told me to choose a place. One of the options was closed that day, so that made my decision an easy one. And it was brilliant! We ordered sandwiches from a small stand in the middle of town. Mordicchio-Piadineria deserves all the wonderful reviews they get. You could watch them roll out and fry the thin dough right behind the counter as you ordered, and then they assembled beautiful creations! Piadina (Piada) is flatbread native to this region of Italy, and it is worth a trip across the ocean in itself.
This sandwich is one of the best things I have eaten since we left the States. Right up there tied for first place with Finnish strawberries. This was the ultimate sandwich experience!
After we wandered around Ferrara, we got back in the car and Jeff drove us into the heart of Florence. This was a little trickier than it sounds, since the main road to our lodging had collapsed and was closed for construction. Florence is a medieval city, which means that most streets are 1-way, the space between buildings are the roads, and on most roads you can touch both buildings on each side of the road with a normal wingspan. Jeff did an amazing job moving our Mercedes wagon on the cobblestone streets- I did all the cursing for him. Once we finally found the address we were looking for we stopped in the middle of the street- no room to park, and of course an Italian in a small car pulled up behind us and started yelling. There were lots of loud noised and arm motions. Once Jeff maneuvered slightly out of the way and the Italian parked, we sort of found out in broken English that he was trying to help! After that, we unloaded and parked without a problem.
Mary had reserved an awesome apartment in Florence. Right on the South side of the River Arno, 1 block from the Ponte Vecchio. It was a perfect location within walking distance of everything we wanted to see!
Let’s get something straight: Jeff and I are not art conessuiers. We are not artists. Both of our minds work in a structural sense, we like order and directions and things that make logical sense. Gee, sounds like we would make decent engineers! We do not appreciate art. So, to be honest, a lot of Florence was pretty boring to us. For that fact alone, I am skipping over most of the sights we saw, and will summarize in photos. We climbed to the top of the Duomo, saw David in the Accademia, visited the Galileo museum, Ufizi, Pitti Palace ...
But the food! I can definitely appreciate food!!! We stopped in All’Antico’s for fresh pannini’s 2 times during our stay (and purchased extra for a 3rd meal). They were fabulous! The menu was in Italian, so our sandwiches were always a surprise after we ordered.
One night we had dinner at Ristorante Accademia. Shout out to Rebekkah for the recommendation! It was the Italian restaurant experience that I had been waiting for! Jeff and I ordered the set menu which included 3 courses. We had a meat and cheese starter plate, Jeff had spicy spaghetti and I had truffle ravioli, and then we shared Florentine beef (aka huge steak!) and potatoes for our final course. Mary ordered chicken parmesan (the best she said she’s ever had) and John ordered salad, soup of the day and chicken stuffed with sausage and apples. Of course we stopped for gelato on the walk back!
Thanks to many of you who gave us recommendations for places to eat and get gelato while we were in Florence- we checked out a lot of them, and found a few great places of our own!