THE STAYCATION EXPERIENCE
Salve, staycationers! How magical was the Puglia region? To wrap up our third month of staycationing, we move away from these exotic whitewashed towns and into the heart of Renaissance Italy – Firenze. If you’re just joining us now, we have been digitally exploring our Italian motherland through weekly blog posts. We explore the highlights of each destination, suggest ways to experience that place whilst at home, and provide a pizza special inspired by the location to get our taste buds in on the fun! So off we go, past the beautiful Tuscan hills, into the city of Florence.
Week 9: Firenze/ Florence
The regional capital of Tuscany – Firenze – is more commonly known to us as Florence. It is renown for its influence on high culture; being an epicentre for historical art and modern fashion designers. The city is regarded as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and of famous couture houses such Salvatore Ferragamo, Roberto Cavalli and Gucci. Let’s dive into this artistic city, where almost a third of the world’s are treasures reside – according to UNESCO.
Enjoy the flavours of Firenze as the Made in Italy chefs have created Pizza Firenze, featuring; a Tomato Base, Ham, Mushroom, Olives, Artichoke, Oregano and Mozzarella.
To See in Firenze
The Ponte Vecchio literally means old bridge, but its aged name hasn’t stopped this quintessential piece of Italy’s architecture from becoming a tourist favourite. The bridge is the highlight of the river Arno, with its quirky speckled houses along its sides. These have traditionally served as the homes and storefronts of Florence’s goldsmiths, a history that you’ll be able to experience as you stroll through the bridge.
‘Il Duomo’ in the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore is both an artistic and architectural feat. The immense dome took 140 years to finish construction, and it became the city’s reference point; events were scheduled for “before the dome is covered”. The concept such a large structure would have been deemed impossible before the Renaissance, but goldsmith Brunelleschi conjured the design and realised it. Today, tourists can climb the 463 steps to the top of this architectural masterpiece, or witness it from the inside and appreciate the immense Last Judgement fresco that covers it.
To Do in Firenze
A walk through the Giardino Bardini is a refreshing, central escapade from the alleyways of Firenze. The four hectare garden was originally a fruit orchard sitting just outside the city walls, most likely serving the purpose of feeding the local Mozzi family that owned the land. The gardens have been passed down through different owners, creating an eclectic yet enchanting mix of styles to explore. It’s worth the visit even just for feeling like you’re in a fairytale inside the purple haze of the Wisteria Tunnel.
From the gardens, it is a short stroll to Piazzale Michelangelo. This square overlooks the city of Firenze with panoramic views. It is popular for sunset, where the sky puts on a show. There, you can also see a bronze replica of Michelangelo’s David. From the city, you walk to one of the old towers from the city’s medieval walls and take the looping walking track upwards. The short uphill effort has big vista rewards!
Flavours of Firenze
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking Florence is Florentine steak. The bistecca all Fiorentina is a classic dish from this Tuscan city, cut 2 inches thick, grilled 3-4 minutes on each side, and salted at the end. Vegetarians, however, will appreciate the Tagliatelle Funghi Porcini e Tartufo. This fungi feast blends the two local ingredients of truffle mushrooms and porcini mushrooms. It’s a complex but simple dish that pleases all with a Tuscan palate. But to truly delight the whole family, try the gelato in Firenze. Whilst this cold treat is famous all over Italy, the Florentine strains are renown for their quality. If you’re looking for local grade gelato, avoid the over-the-top tourist traps!
Bringing Firenze Home
Bring the Florentine experience to your tastebuds first. Try a homemade twist on the Tuscan funghi delicacies by ordering a Fettucinne Mamma Mia and adding a few drops of truffle oil. Otherwise, try out our weekly special! The Pizza Firenze has a little bit of all Tuscan delicacies: Tomato Base, Ham, Mushroom, olives, Artichoke, Oregano & Mozzarella. Why not order both and have a Firenze food feast?
As you eat your takeout, set the scene with a few movie classics. Try out Tea With Mussolini for a historical night in, with this Italian flick from the 90’s set in Florence before and during WWII. Otherwise do the go-to, A Room With A View. The 1985 movie has a star-studded cast, was nominated for eight academy awards & won three of them!
Enjoy you staycation and the sites, sounds and flavours of Firenze and we look forward to taking you on another adventure next week in Bologna!
Lastly, as always buon appetito!