I Ghibellini, located in Piazza San Pier Maggiore has long been one of my favorite restaurants. Not only is the food good, the prices are reasonable and the menu wide and varied. You can get pastas, wood oven pizzas, steaks or chicken, calzones, and a variety of other Tuscan treats. They have a good wine list, but the house wine is inexpensive and good as well at about 13 euro per liter.Aside from the great food here, I love the ambiance. This small piazza is like a hidden gem.The arches of the antique convent across the way make beautiful silhouettes in the night. They have a large and lovely outside terrace that is a wonderful place to dine in the Spring and Summer. The piazza is lively, but not noisy and very romantic.On this particular night, I had the Guelfi pizza which consists of grilled zucchini, artichokes, and fresh tomatoes and basil. Wonderful!Ben had the Frutta di mare, with calamari and shrimp, also very tasty. For less than 25 euro we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in a beautifully romantic setting, AHHH la dolce vita!
With Spring, my mind turns to those “warm weather” things that I have forgotten during the wet cold winter months….Gelato is first on the list. Last year, this new gelato store opened just two blocks away from me. I resisted. Having a gelato at this store meant a risk that it would not be as good as my favorites and thus a lost opportunity!A few days ago, we walked by on our way to another destination, and needed a little something to hold us over until mealtime and decided to give it a whirl. The bins of gelato are colorful, looked fresh, and stayed below the full line in the tray. If you are tempted by those mile high gelato’s near the Ponte Vecchio, warning! Real gelato doesn’t stand up that high! You must question what is in it, and how fresh it is. Better just to avoid them.B.ICE, located at Borgo Ognissanti, 150r has a wide variety of flavors with some changing regularly. The smallest cone is 2 euro which is in line with the prices in Florence, but 50 centisimmi more expensive that Carraia. The portion is generous though. There are other gelato confections that look wonderful like popsicles, cakes and tarts.Inside there are benches in the windows to sit down, which Is a nice and unusual feature in a gelato shop. The quality of the gelato and the proximity to my home is very scary. I’ll see you there!
There are so many wonderful places to go in Florence, it is hard to get to them all. Sometimes you hit the real “tourist trap” and it is always a disappointment to think you’ve spent your “night out” at something so unworthy.
In order to avoid the traps, I sometimes go back to my tried and true again and again, which isn’t a bad thing, and then sometimes, you just want to try something new. It’s always a real delight when it turns out to be a winner that you can add to your list!
I found another great spot, just down the street. It turns out that I live in quiet the “happening” neighborhood. Not very touristy, but commercial and lots of new business opening. This one has been around a while and has been one of my favorite daytime bars for coffee and pastry. It has a beautiful pastry counter!As it turn out, in the evening they have a wonderful appertivo. The café is open from 6:30 a.m. until midnight everyday serving breakfast lunch and an appericena. They are located at Borgo Ognissanti, 167r. The cost is 10 euro.
It looks like on Thursday evenings they have Samba lessons from 7-9! Might be fun.
This coffee ship, around since 1946 is located near the Pantheon, at via degli Orfani, 84 and is said to have the best coffee in Rome. It is a huge place (for a bar in Italy) and its long bar winds around inside. They use high quality Brazilian coffee beans for their concoction. You can buy the beans here as well. The coffee is a mere 80 cents a cup (espresso), also probably the cheapest in Rome. Delicious!
Florence has a lot of restaurants, and it’s been a long time since I ate at this one, but I don’t know why! It was great! Great atmosphere and great food is always a winning combination. Baldovino is located near Santa Croce at via San Giuseppe, 22. Don’t be fooled as you enter into thinking that the place is small! The restaurant is broken up into several small rooms. It is one of the larger restaurants I have been in here in Florence. The small rooms give it a lot of intimacy, as well as the dimmer lighting not often found in Italian restaurants.We had 4 wonderful courses, an antipasto of 4 different spreads on a bread that they called “arabo”. It was a delicious bread covered with sesame seeds and the spreads were hummus, baba ganoush, a faro, and a cannellini bean, all delicious.My primi piatto was gnocchi with gorgonzola and arugula, and Ben chose a polenta with black cabbage and pecorino.For our entrée, I had grilled chicken which was flavorful and moist, and Ben chose the spiedini of lamb.Desserts included cheesecake with berries, and a date and chocolate mousse.The portions were large and thankfully, we had a good brisk walk home! They have a wood burning stove for pizzas and many interesting and beautiful dishes on the menu. It won’t be long before I will be back there. Try it!