Fountain of Neptune in Piazza Della Signoria Florence
My Italian adventure and my new life started in Piazza Della Signoria 13 years ago and this week the 30th October will be special for 3 reasons.
I will have been married to Francesco for 3 years (woohoo), I will be drawing the winners of the Naples A Way Of Love book giveaway and I can apply for an ITALIAN PASSPORT!! Did you hear the scream all the way to Oz??
The adventure feels like it has lasted 3 lifetimes. So many wonderful people I have met along the way, the good days and the scary days, the places, the happiness and joy, the learning, the listening, the dancing and the photography have been more than I could have ever asked for or dreamed of partaking in.
Yes, Carla’s long and winding road has been AMAZING and is now leading directly to the Ambascita Italiana in Paris and an eventual (hope) Italian passport. I will be shouting from the windows, rooftops and to anyone who cares to hear to listen, the day that little baby (aka passport) is delivered. Talk about excited!
I was bewitched by Florence the first time I visited and when I moved back to study Italian and eventually photography it felt like ‘home’ after so many years living in a big city and thanks to the magnificent Popi Florence became my second home.
Popi took care of me, fed me, offered me friendship and love and became my darling friend and confidante. She gave me a safe place, a happy place and made it easy for me to stay.
And Florence did the rest! And as they say the rest is history…
My favourite season in Florence is winter. I love winter because out comes the glam winter wardrobe of the Florentines, up go the beautiful lights in the streets and when the dark descends there is atmosphere ‘a go go’ like in no other season.
You want to wrap yourself around someone you love, sip hot chocolate at Rivoire and sit around a big solid wooden table with good friends and hearty Tuscan soups and a glass of chianti.
So today in preparation for ‘International Carla Starts Her Italian Passport Application Day‘ on the 30th October I want to share some of my favourite things to do in Florence in the winter.
CHIC WINTER ADDRESSES
Best hot chocolate in Florence and delicious pastries. Costs a couple of euros if you drink and eat at the bar in one of Florence’s exquisite historical caffes otherwise grab your loved one and sit at one of the little tables inside and enjoy the view.
Some of the best pastries and sweets in Florence. My darling dreams of the Sfoglia alla Crema and I try to bring one back to Paris each time I visit..Hard to resist it on the plane. Great coffee at the bar..Sitting down will cost you a fortune. In winter the inside room is one of the prettiest historical rooms in a cafe in Florence. Romantic!
Piazza della Repubblica
Another of one of my favourite cafes and I always have a coffee and brioche in the morning for 2.50 euro.. The pastries are baked on the premises and the barista’s are some of the best in Florence.
Vicolo dell ‘Oro, 5,
50123 Florence, Italy
The Ferragamo family own this stylish hotel with a fabulous art gallery in the foyer. There is a wonderful Aperitivo hour of delish picks that stretch the length of the bar. Buy a drink and help yourself! And ever so cosy in winter.
Four Seasons Hotel Florence
Borgo Pinti, 99
50121 Florence, Italy
Possible Florence’s most beautiful hotel! Palazzo Gheradesca once the home of the Florentine noble family of the same name is now a spectacular hotel with many of the original features. The atrium bar is a super chic destination for a drink with a loved one.
HEARTY WINTER ADDRESSES
Volta dei Girolami 28,
Hidden underneath one of the arches near the Ponte Vecchio the Buca dell’ Orafo serves good Tuscan food. If you want to avoid the tourists go for the second sitting..
Great for a glass of wine around 7pm with the locals in a quiet piazza just behind the duomo. You can venture downstairs for a typical Tuscan lunch that won’t cost much.
Via Porcellana, 25/r
Old school trattoria serving classic Tuscan cuisine. Men in grey jackets, no email, no website. Old school in every sense. I have always eaten well here and found the staff delightful.
Via del Porcellana,
9R Florence, Italy
13 Gobbi is a typical Tuscan trattoria with generous servings and a great mix of locals and tourists alike. I was introduced to this trattoria by my shoe designer friend Sarah.
Piazza Strozzi, 5
I love Colle Bereto for a couple of reasons, divine aperitivo hour. A huge choice of wonderful snacks to have alongside of your fab drink and the location is in the heart of Florence in front of Palazzo Strozzi. People watching central. In winter they crank up the heating in the bar outside.
Located in the small piazza della passera in Oltrarno Quattro Leone is a good solid trattoria where we have had many a great night. I love the fiocchetti with pear and cream and in winter the atmosphere inside is typical Tuscan.
In Mercato Sant’Ambrogio,
Amongst the bustle of market day in Mercato Sant’Ambrogio Da Rocco is a local canteen that serves good basic Tuscan cuisine. Rocco is super friendly and has a limited daily menu. Francesco and I spent many a winter’s lunch at Da Rocco eating bean soups and falling in love. Ha ha..
If you are lucky enough to be in Florence this winter I hope you check out some of these addresses.
“Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy.” Fanny Burney