Travel Reference
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( 055 239 95 44; ; Borgo San Frediano 5; d from €379; ) This
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
sangue (bloody).
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,
full meals.
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).
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
the cart on the southwest corner of Mercato Nuovo; L'Antico Trippaio MAP GOOGLE MAP (Piazza
dei Cimatori), Pollini MAP GOOGLE MAP (Piazza Sant' Ambrogio) in Santa Croce; and hole-in-the-
wall Da Vinattieri MAP GOOGLE MAP (Via Santa Margherita 4; 10am-7.30pm Mon-Fri, to 8pm
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).
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