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Florence day 1: getting aquainted

April 3, 2012

After a pleasant layover in Zurich where I ate an orange and purchased some Swiss chocolate for my hosts :), Nadia and Matteo picked me up at the airport on Saturday afternoon.  We all had a good laugh when they thought my luggage had been lost by the airline…  No, I really do pack that light!

We headed back to the homestead, dropped off my teeny bag, had a caffe latte and some schiata (a kind of flatbread, I loved the 5-cereal variety), and hopped out of the house in a flash!  We headed to the center of town on the tram and did a quick walk through past the most beautiful buildings and statues (in the world perhaps?) to get me oriented with the town.  Coming from New York, I was surprised by how near Santa Maria Novella church, the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio, the Uffizi and the Old Bridge, etc. are to one another, and I really loved the intimate feeling created by that closeness.

We wandered through the streets, stopping in at a cute vintage store where I got my first souvenir, a vintage leather motorcycle jacket, complete with shoulder and elbow padding!  I ended up living in it during the trip, and after as well!

Just after watching the sun set over the Arno, we stopped in All’Antico Vinaio for some quick crostini and wine.  The place was packed, the food was amazing, and the proprietor called everyone doctor!

It was a much needed snack for the three of us before we freshened up and went out to eat (again!!! when in Florence…) at Osteria Santo Spirito.  The meal was delightful, and I wrote down a lot of good recipe ideas that I will share here soon, but what was even more fun was the company…  Nothing can beat meeting locals when you are traveling, and thanks to my friends, I met so many sweet Florentines throughout the week, most of whom asked me when I was moving there 🙂

Despite the long flight, I had plenty of energy and we were all in the mood to celebrate, so we crossed the piazza and had a Negroni at Volume, where they were playing live jazz inside.  The cafe feels special and still decorated with the molds and tools of the former tenant of the space, a craftsman who worked there for years and years.  However, on this comfortably chilly evening, the radical chic crowd (read hipsters) was standing outside in the square smoking and drinking and talking the night away.  I kept looking up at the stars and could barely believe where I was, and how lucky I felt to be there.  I knew from the first day that this would be a good trip…

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