Florence, the Renaissance jewel of Tuscany, is often said to be the most beautiful city of Italy. Whether you agree or not, Florence is undoubtedly the city which best depicts Italian art. Under the impetus of the Medici, for over two centuries from the 14th to the 16th, Florence became the cradle of the great creative talents that were to sculpt the face of Italy, but also that of modern civilisation throughout Europe: the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti, Uffizi Gallery, San Marco Convent – the wealth of architectural and pictorial beauties never ceases to amaze.
After Botticelli’s angelic virgins and goddesses and Michael Angelo’s muscular virile statues, follow one of our hot tips and head towards the “Mercato Centrale” (on Piazza del Mercato Centrale, a five-minute walk from the Duomo). Built from 1870 to 1874, by the architect of Milan’s famous Victor Emmanuel II Gallery, it was renovated in the spring of 2014 to celebrate its 140th anniversary. Welcome to the temple of (good) taste, home to a profusion of mouth-watering produce, enticing aromas and a riot of colour! The dolce vita of taste buds! Stroll past hams, ravioli and seasonal vegetables, taste the famous “mostarda di frutta” or nibble on a “panino al lampredotto” (this “poor man’s” sandwich is stuffed with “rennet” (from one of the four stomachs of a cow), washed down with a glass of wine – a 100% Florentine food experience!
Why not take a cookery lesson: among the market stalls, the Lorenzo De’ Medici cooking school (allow 3 hours no less) will teach you how to astound your guests with the best Bel Paese recipes. To mention just a few: bean and cabbage soup (ribollita), tomato soup (pappa al pomodoro) or stuffed veal bundles (polpettone in umido)…
Safe in the knowledge that your hunger pangs have been assuaged, generous as we are, we cannot resist another tip: take advantage of the mild evenings to tour the Palazzo Vecchio. Deserted by the crowds, the museum remains open until the twelfth stroke of midnight! One last piece of advice: don’t forget to book your ticket to the Uffizi online, otherwise you may have to queue for hours, just to buy a ticket.
Office de tourisme : http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/