In contrast to relaxed and laid back Bologna, Florence was a beehive of activity. From the tine we arrived at the train station there were crowds of people. And yet, there was the experience of walking from the train station and turning the corner to see the Duomo.
I have heard that there is no greater representation of the Renaissance than the Duomo. Walking down busy streets and turning the corner to suddenly have it right in front of you certainly has quite an affect.
One cannot deny the influence of the Medici Family on the Renaissance and on Florence itself.
And yes, the crowds were large, but that just made people and pooch watching that much more interesting.
We had a nice apartment on Via del Servi (more on that later), which was large, comfortable, and quiet at night. Our host Matteo was amazing as well. Our next mission was to get a Firenze Card
For me, once settled, I believed we needed to get a Firenze Card. There were places we wanted to see, and the 71 Euro price would allow us to beat some of the lines and I was sure the Missus would have us headed to more than enough locales to make up for the price of the pass. The closest location open was in Piazza della Signora.
So we headed on over.
After trying to figure things out and with the help of various folks at different admission windows I found the line. About thirty minutes later I had our passes in hand.
We headed right to Accademia which was fairly close and I knew we'd be able to cover in a short amount of time because everyone comes to see.....
The masterpiece that is Michelangelo's David in full glory. I must say, there are those great works of art that do not impress very much in person. David did.
This Renaissance symbol of the victory of divine good over evil stands seventeen feet tall. The detail, especially of the hands is amazing.
David hold the classic pose known as Contrapposto ("counterpoise").
And yes, it was a bit busy; but not super crowded as entrance volume is well controlled. Great for us as we had a short 15 minute wait in the "reserved" line with the Firenze Card. Not so great if you were in the line stretching down the block at the hour of 430 pm.
The rest of the Gallery was pretty empty.
We explored a bit; taking time to check out four unfinished works by Michelangelo dubbed "The Prisoners" each seems to be trying to be....to quote the "unofficial" Accademia website - "to free the spirit from matter".
These four works were initially intended for the tomb of Pope Julius II.
We spent about an hour in total wandering around.
The close location of our apartment allowed us some downtime before heading off to dinner.
I had made only three restaurant reservations before leaving on our trip, including one for the first night in Florence. I was curious about the traditional food of Florence and after reading a bunch of food blogs and such, especially this wonderful post on Curious Appetite (check them out), I thought we'd check out Enzo e Piero.
We had reservations for 7pm, which is probably "tourist time" for eating in Florence, but the folks working were so friendly and gracious. and we were indeed the first customers for this evening.
Though by the time our first bottle of Vino Rosso made it to the table; the place was half full.
We both started with soup courses.
The Missus with a very thick Ribollita. A traditional Tuscan "soup", in this case very thick like a potage.
I'd read that most versions had beans, but this did not. The "soup" was really super thick, bread is used to thicken the soup, and this seemed to have a tad too much of it for our taste. the flavors of the greens and other vegetables were muted.
I got the Tortellini en Brodo. Yes, it's mainly known as a classic dish from Emilia-Romagna; but it was chilly outside and I thought this would be nice.
While the broth was a bit light in the flavor department; man that hand made pasta was amazing. I'd really never had anything like this before. The texture, light yet substantial, just the perfect amount of springiness.
If the Tortellini wasn't enough of a pleasant surprise the Lampredotto in Zimino was just plain great.
For the unitiated, lampredotto, made from the abomasum, aka, the "fourth stomach" of the cow and named after lampreys due to the resemblance of the "tripe" to the color and shape of the eel like creature. I didn't expect much and man, was I surpised at the amazing flavor and texture. The texture is almost buttery, there's a mild "offal" flavor that's deeply beefy-savory, the light tomato sauce did a great job of not masking any flavors; just adding a touch of tanginess. You can tell; this was love at first bite. From this point on, it was going to be "all tripe, all the time" for us.
Last up for the Missus was the Taglierini al Tartufo Fresco. The Missus asked me what "tartufo" was and I told Her "truffles".....so you know She was going to order this.
The pasta was so springy. Another thing I learned on this trip, I'd been putting too little salt in my pasta water. We found the pasta, didn't need too much olive oil, garlic, onions...... These "fresh" (fresco) black truffles were very fragrant, but quite mild in flavor.
Amazingly, all the dishes, and most everything we had on this trip just wasn't very salty. It was a fantastic experience for us.
Enzo e Piero has been around since 1931, we wanted to start our trip eating more traditional fare, and this was a good start.
Trattoria Enzo e Piero
Via Faenza 105 rosso
Did you notice the "rosso" after the number? Well, Florence addresses have two different sets of numbers. The "rosso", red is for businesses, you'll often see a number ending in 'r'; this means red. Residences are in black or blue. While it can be a bit confusing; it's got nothing on the Japanese address system, which I've mentioned in a couple of posts before.
For dessert, well, we were in Florence, so the Missus grabbed some Gelato from one of what seems like thousands of Gelato shops in Florence.
Life was good!