extraordinary old palazzo is the stuff of dreams. The 12 suites, which occupy four floors
with the family's private residence wedged in between, are vast and ooze elegance, featur-
ing authentic period furnishings, rich fabrics and Bulgari toiletries. The 360-degree city
view from the rooftop is magnificent and unforgettable.
Quality ingredients and simple execution are the hallmarks of Florentine cuisine, climax-
ing with the bistecca alla fiorentina, a huge slab of prime T-bone steak rubbed with olive
oil, seared on the char grill, garnished with salt and pepper and served beautifully al
Other typical dishes include crostini (toasts typically topped with chicken-liver pâté),
ribollita (thick vegetable, bread and bean soup), pappa al pomodoro (bread and tomato
soup) and trippa alla fiorentina (tripe cooked in a rich tomato sauce).
As equally an attractive option as the city's many restaurants is its wealth of enoteca -
wine bars serving tasting platters of cheese, salami and cold meats as well as, quite often,
In between meal times, if you're absolutely desperate to dine, the historic cafe- restaur-
ants on Piazza della Repubblica serve food all day (at a price).
TRIPE: FAST-FOOD FAVOURITE
When Florentines fancy a fast munch-on-the-move, they flit by a trippaio - a cart on wheels or mobile
stand - for a tripe panini (sandwich). Think cow's stomach chopped up, boiled, sliced, seasoned and
bunged between bread.
Those great bastions of good old-fashioned Florentine tradition, trippai still going strong include
Sat & Sun) tucked down an alley next to Dante's Chiesa di Santa Margherita. Pay up to €4.50 for a
panini with tripe doused in salsa verde (pea-green sauce of smashed parsley, garlic, capers and an-
chovies) or garnished with salt, pepper and ground chilli. Alternatively, opt for a meaty-sized bowl
(€5.50 to €7) of lampredotto (cow's fourth stomach that is chopped and simmered for hours).
TOP OF CHAPTER