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Florence day 5: Easy breezy on the bike

April 22, 2012

Nadia left me the keys the night before, so I didn’t set the alarm. It was so nice to wake up late and have a slow breakfast of caffe latte, an orange and cookie on the terrace in my pajamas, listening to the Tobolowsky Files, which always makes me so happy (this podcast is really touching and hilarious, but you must must must start with the first episode!)!

I took a little time to reorganize my heap of stuff and put my mind in order before hopping on their bicycle and heading out towards the city! After riding through the back streets of their neighborhood, I biked over a footbridge and careened through Cascine Park with other bikers and joggers, rode around in circles getting my bearings and adjusting to Florentine traffic laws, passed by a few of the most treasured spots of Florence (nothing like cruising by Santa Maria Novella church on your bike :)), and then stopped at an inspiring stone store that felt like a jewel box with its red walls, framed stone displays, and chandeliers on Borgo San Jacobi (a street with many lovely stores!) for a present for a friend… xo

The proprietress gave me a nice recommendation for lunch at Colle Bereto on the other side of the river. I lingered over an excellent lunch of fresh tuna pasta and a glass of delicate white wine on the patio of the restaurant in Piazza degli Strozzi, and felt like I could have sat there all day…

But, I had other plans in mind so hopped back on the orange bike (which had been Matteo’s bike from high school!) and headed over to the Boboli Gardens. It was a gorgeous day and I was quite happy to stroll across the beautiful lawns,

past striking sculptures,

move through a faux labyrinth,

to take a peek at the strange curiosities in the Porcelain Gallery at the top of the hill,

and to sit and take a rest wherever as I pleased. This marble sculpture was particularly inviting and I laid on the cool stone for a long while looking up at the sky through the trees.

I had a wonderful time at the garden, but my only wish is that the rose garden had been in bloom… I’ll just have to make a return visit!

I biked back over to Vivaldi for a gelato with cinnamon and fig/ chocolate and hazelnuts and did a little people, and dog!, watching out in the street before pedaling home.

I wasn’t exactly sure of the route home once I got back to our neighborhood, but I happened upon an old man who looked like he knew where he was going, so I followed him for a while, thinking it would take me straight home, but once he turned into his own driveway, I was on my own!

After correcting a few wrong turns, I made it home on my own (a big accomplishment in my mind…) and took a load off. Once Nadia got home, we bought groceries at the Esselunga, and she also redeemed her shopping points for a food processor – very nice!!

We made a carciofi feast! Usually I only think of artichokes as a steam job, but Nadia showed me some of the other magical ways to prepare this versatile vegetable! The pictures didn’t do it justice, but we made an artichoke frittata and a raw artichoke salad with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt, accompanied by fava beans straight from the shell with little bits of pecorino cheese, and farro salad with tomatoes and cucumbers. Oh, and not to forget the prosecco for a little pre-birthday celebration!

After that it was into the city center for a perfect walk at night to see the sights and streets and bridges from a different perspective, so romantic…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. cyndie permalink
    April 26, 2012 9:42 pm

    seriously mama, you followed the old guy?! i love it!

    • April 27, 2012 10:46 pm

      he got me preeetty close to where i needed to go… 🙂

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