Having never been to Florence, and with my A-Level history a distant memory, we asked the hotel to arrange a guided tour around the main city.
Starting with a discovery of my spiritual home…
Ok, seriously, Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance and is choc-a-bloc with culture, monuments, art and artefacts. Our wonderful guide, Claretta, explained the history of Florence without the tour ever becoming dull.
We started at the Basillica di Santa Maria del Fiore which is the main church of Florence.
Claretta explained to us that the architect, Brunelleschi, was famed for completing the dome without the use of scaffolding and the construction became one of the most spectacular projects of the Renaissance.
Originally the exterior was plain and rustic and it wasn’t until 1887 (thanks Wikipedia for helping my memory!) when the marble facade was added.
We were led into the Piazza della Signoria, one of the main square of Florence and a political hub of the city. A gallery of statues fringe the square including:
A copy of Michaelanglo’s David and Hercules and Cacus outside the town hall,
The Medici lions,
And Perseus with the head of Medusa.
Although the square is representative of history and legend, Claretta pointed out you couldn’t help but notice how each statue represented acts of violence. The statues were intended to convey a message of fear from the ruling classes and send a warning to the citizens to be obedient or they could suffer similar fates.
Claretta led us on to the Basillica di Santa Croce.
A church famed for the being the burial place for some of the most famous Italians in history such as Michaelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli and Rossini.
But it wasn’t all violence and death. Claretta pointed out some fun little facts.
Such as the little ‘knock for wine door.’ As well pointing out some great shopping streets and fab boutiques which we returned to the next day. The three hour tour covered all four quarters of Florence and then later me and Mr S headed to look around the Uffizi gallery, one of the oldest museum in the world.
After three hours walking we were very much ready for lunch and a bottle of wine.
The hotel had booked Olio & Convivium, a little restaurant located in Palazzo Capponi. When we arrived I was a little disappointed the we weren’t dining al fresco in one of the pavement cafes we’d passed by as the day was so beautiful. But I knew Il Salviatino wouldn’t let us down…
Aren’t couples holiday photos funny?
Anyway, the food!
The waiter suggested we started with a tasting portion of two different pastas.
Raviolo with steak tartare was the thinnest and and lightest pasta I’d ever tasted with only a tiny delicate touch of cream.
Lobster and chilli linguine was again incredibly fine with perfectly cooked shellfish and a hint of heat from the chilli. Just superb…Il Salviatino definitely hadn’t let me down.
I chose the fish of the day, sea bass with artichokes and parma ham. A great combo of some of my favourite foods.
The manager recommended the duck breast with raspberries and caramel sauce. Mr Silver, ever a fowl fan readily ordered the dish and absolutely loved it.
And of course we ended with a gelato…
Well..when in Rome…I mean Florence!!
Watch this space for my final post of Florence later this week.