La dolce vita Γ¨ a Firenze

Posted: September 18, 2014 in Travels

a tiny pedestrian walkway on the right bank of the Arno x

The heart of Tuscany, birthplace of the Renaissance and symbolism of the fleur de lis. 😍 However I should not be allowed there without full protection… from myself, and my bank accounts! More money has been spent in Firenze in two days than the last 25 in the south of Italy. The cuisine is just incredible… far more diverse, interesting and gluten-friendly. Medici, and the Four Seasons stole il mio cuore πŸ’˜ The city is charismatic, proud and truly autentico. I would definitely have to learn Italian to stay longer than three days. The Fiorentini can be quite snobbish, as was pointed out by several local friends and colleagues. They might take a cool attitude toward yet another american defecting to their unmatched UNESCO perfection. The esteemed guidance was to live on the San Croce side of the Arno to avoid being stereotyped too much.

Given we are STILL in Italy 😳 I must blather on about the food, naturalmente!!! I stumbled upon this fresh, totally provincial and relaxed Tuscan cafe called Mangiofoco, on a quaint Via just behind the enchanting Ponte Vecchio. The products, the people and the vibe was warm and alive… but totally chill. That just seemed to be the way in Firenze. And the true locals certainly know it. I have lived an entire life without whole tomatoes, honey or pesto, yet something about Firenze revolutionised those ingredients. Bringing a little truffle love ‘home’ for Thanksgiving… despite the unfortunate soufflΓ© experience circa 2011 in Paris! 😊

Everything is effortlessly beautiful. The art… even street graffiti, the men, the jewellery, the wine, the hotels and the Arno. Wow! I was rather fortunate to spend time in two very different hotels. One being the brand new Portrait Firenze, a Salvatore Ferragamo conquest, which ironically is how I feel about the handbag he made for me as well. πŸ˜‰ The family was destined for simple perfection! Next I moved to a 15th century Renaissance palace, which is the breathtaking Four Seasons. Comprised of a Medici palace, five hectares of the most peaceful serene botanical gardens and a 16th century Conventino. Given my very special adoration for the 17th of September, a spa treatment was definitely on the menu! Hot candle wax dripped directly on my skin and then massaged perfectly for 75 short minutes… overlooking gardens that have withstood several popes, wars and centuries. It was a bit of magic, and in an indescribably different way than the magic I spoke of in Positano. Such diversity across a relatively small country!

It was a fabulous experience, and to be honest, a fair amount of work as well. Nine hotel sites in two days! Plus dinners, lunches, shopping, worldwide what’s apps and the business! Sheesh… exhausting! 😲 but I will never forget the corner shop with the non-English speaking jewellery-maker who had little rubber thingies on just his thumbs. He showed me the creative wisdom to almost every piece in his impressive showroom. While I might have become rather expert at the ‘grat-zie-a’ pronunciation of thank you, I basically speak no Italiano. Yet this lovely artist and I managed. And managed to spend a shit load of euro! πŸ’Ά πŸ‘Έ πŸ”« I deserve it.

Especially when Make You Feel My Love seems to be played in all forms everywhere I turn. Like by the piano player down in the 15th century gardens of the Four Seasons in Firenze. Sigh…

Five more sleeps and I am en route to j’adore France! Determined to make the most use of the rail pass and further enhance my logistics expertise… I will take the train from Rome to Bordeaux. πŸ˜† It makes me laugh to see people’s reaction to that declaration! If anyone can do it, with two really big suitcases and quite a few acquired Italian treasures that simply won’t fit… it is me! I think it will be funny. Termini to Torino for an impromptu overnight at a Golden Palace… followed by ten TGV hours, including one cross-town Parisian transfer and voila! Je serai en France! Yes, it is quicker for me to go all the way to Paris to change trains than through Marseille or Lyon. Italy has been fabulous, and I’ve seen so much, eaten so much and am ready to move on… I’ve got vendange (grape harvest), an international film festival and St. Estephe patiently awaiting. I look forward to the massive upscale apartment with full professional kitchen in the heart of Bordeaux. Anxious for the loads of men in scarves, France 24, El Taco Del Diablo, and chill time with good friends. No pasta! I wonder how many doors and keys it will require to actually get into the French apartment?!! 😳

Five more sleeps here in the Piazza della Repubblica πŸŽ‰ so exciting!

x and ooo


My very first pesto at Mangiofoco… it was perfetto!


The view from my suite at the incomparable Portrait Suites Firenze

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