Firenze

Finally, the last and most anticipated stop on our Italian vacation: Florence, the apple of my eye!

Ever since our college semester abroad, my husband and I had been dying to revisit our favorite city. Although we weren’t in Italy the same year, we had similar experiences that we enjoyed retracing during our four days there.

Our top priorities were walking by our old apartments and dining at all of our favorite Florentine restaurants. We adopted a “no holds barred” policy, even if that meant eating a sandwich on our way to lunch – yes, that happened! With very few touristy items on our agenda, we basically hung out, shopped, ate, and wished that we were still studying abroad.

Below is a run-down of the places we went and the best foods we ate:

Antico Noe: This infamous sandwich joint receives first mention, simply because we ate here 4 out of 5 days in Florence, no joke. With toppings like roasted turkey, artichokes, truffle spread, pesto, mushrooms, eggplant and fresh mozzarella, the possibilities were truly endless; no two paninis that I concocted were alike. Even with the number of sandwiches we consumed, I will continue to dream of Antico Noe often.



La Giostra: It’s tough to declare a meal as “the best meal I’ve ever eaten”, but this was sure up there. And the Pecorino and Pear Tortellini dish might be the best pasta I’ve ever eaten. With the slight sweetness of the pear and the creaminess of the cheese, the unlikely combo kept me coming back for more. Alongside the tortellini was the Burrata and Fresh Tomato Ravioli, together, catapulting me into food heaven. The unmatched pasta dishes coupled with the charm of the photograph-laden walls and white twinkling lights strung throughout the restaurant, really make La Giostra a place that cannot be missed.


Baldovino: We enjoyed a relaxing lunch outside at this casual but delicious pizzeria. Their amazing salads, laundry list of pizzas, and famous chocolate cake were just how I had remembered them.


Aqual al Due: This restaurant, practically an American refuge, is widely known for their Balsamic and Blueberry Steak. Since I was a vegetarian when I was abroad, I had never tried these fabulous filets; thank goodness that is no longer the case. My husband and I split one of each, and I melted with each bite. The sauces were bursting with intense flavors that enhanced the tender meat.

Mercato Centrale: This colossal market is a chef’s paradise. With countless vendors specializing in products such as pastas, mushrooms, meats, cheeses, and oils, I was dying because I couldn’t take everything home with me. When I lived in Florence, I loved the market for their wide range of dried fruits and nuts, but now I appreciated it even more. It would be paradise for me to be able to go grocery shopping there.



Gelato


View from our hotel

Hotel Breakfast – yes the croissant is filled with chocolate custard!
View of the Pitti Palace and Florence from the Boboli Gardens

Vespas! Cool photo taken by my husband…

Favorite bakery item, flaky cookie filled with chocolate

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