Italy: Doing Fiorenze

Even though I spent most of my time in Florence laid up, my hotel was in between the Piazza del Duomo and a little sculpture museum among a row of shops. Three buildings in the plaza are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Gothic cathedral was built between 1296 and 1436. The cathedral’s famous dome, an engineering marvel, was the work of Filippo Brunelleschi.

The other two buildings are Giotto’s Campanile and the Baptistery.

We studied these baptistry doors in art class. When I see things like that it makes my education feel worthwhile. The East Doors, also dubbed the Gates of Paradise by Michelangelo, were created by Ghiberti on commission. It took 27 years to finish the ten panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament.

Leather is the main industry there, and I had a good time shopping.


They make shoes there, and I would have loved to have custom made shoes that actually fit, but they were over 600 Euro.


They also sell porcelain. This girl looks dubious.


Sylvia told me I could not leave Florence without having Steak Florentino. I had a restaurant on my list called La Fettunta that specialized in that local delicacy.

So, on my last night I checked it out. This is what I got.

Servers and diners surreptitiously eyed me to see how much I would eat. Most of it was so rare I couldn’t chew it. It was like trying to take a bite out of a whole cow. But the medium cooked bits were charred and heavily seasoned with salt and pepper and much more tender. I did not want to get run out of there for pissing on tradition, but I also didn’t want to waste the giant ribeye. As apologetically as I could, I got the server to slap about 4 slices on the grill for a little longer and it was soooo good. For dessert I had a rich chocolate semifreddo.

DSC04181So I covered most of the Florence must-dos. I shopped for cute leather bags, saw the Duomo and ate one-tenth of a Florentine steak. Maybe I didn’t see Venus on a Half-shell or the statue of David, but I did pretty well, considering the rain and that cough syrup.

And I met the Italian Tina Fay.

About Kiki Maraschino

I like catfish. Sure, we all like catfish, but I think for me it is somehow deeper.
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