Florence. Firenze.Italy

Florence.

Firenze.

Italy.

Beautiful in a romantic sense. Warm hues of yellow, pumpkin and chocolate come to mind when I think of Florence. My first experience walking down the Arno River was magical, and would be considered quite romantic actually. It was at sunset and the skies had turned a dusky orange. Seeing the Arno River and the Ponte Vecchio made me so happy as it felt as if I was walking through a painting.

Me in Florence!
Me in Florence!

Florence has art everywhere. It has beautiful sculptures that are accessible to everyone who simply walks through the city.

This magnificent sculpture is of Perseus who stands victorious over Medusa.
This magnificent sculpture is of Perseus who stands victorious over Medusa. Viewable to all at the Piazza della Signoria.

Cooking in Florence

In Florence, I really wanted to cook my own pasta and to just reinforce all of Mario’s teachings! As such, almost all of our dinners were cooked at the apartment.  The first night we cooked using these gigantic shell pasta which looked ridiculously big. Kev really wanted to give them a try and so we did. In my opinion, these shells were way too much effort. Firstly, they were too big to fit in your mouth (I burned and blistered my bottom lip) and secondly, they took way too long to cook. Lesson – despite how fun it looks, the bigger the pasta, the less enjoyable it is to cook and eat.

Kev and our gigantic shell pasta in puttanesca sauce.
Kev and our gigantic shell pasta in puttanesca sauce.

The next day we made it to the Mercato Centrale. It had pasta, herbs, sauces, cheeses, oils and meats. Markets are always the best places to see, smell and hear how the locals live. While we looked around we found some awesome things to cook for dinner that night! I was soooo excited! Kev laughed and was amused but was also a little unsure how he was going to enjoy dinner.

Pasta from the Markets!
Pasta from the Markets!
Oh YES they are!
Oh YES they are!

IMG_3033

Kev is a little apprehensive in trying my 'penis pasta alla puttanesca'.
Kev is a little apprehensive in trying my ‘penis pasta alla puttanesca’.
It was delicious!
It was delicious!

Cooking penis pasta was A LOT of fun! I’ll be the first to admit it. When we were preparing it, one of the other guests came to the kitchen and saying ‘Hrmmmm… smells delicious! You can smell it as you walk in! What are you cooking?’

I answered ‘penis pasta’.

He didn’t respond, however, when he looked into the bowl he gasped ‘Oh! They really DO look like penises. I didn’t think they would!’ He couldn’t contain his smile, and Kev and I couldn’t contain our growing amusement. Anyways, my ‘penis pasta alla puttanesca’ aka penis pasta in whore style sauce, was a hit! And even if it wasn’t, I was sooooo amused from the wondrously dirty AND legitimate pasta name that I had created 🙂

The last night that we cooked we ended up cooking risotto! Again this turned out fabulous! I have to say that perhaps my Italian cooking has improved because I was in Italy!

Porcini mushroom risotto.
Porcini mushroom risotto.

In and around Florence

Our time in Florence was spent soaking up the local atmosphere as opposed to doing all of the usual touristy things. We found cafes which had a great view of people and of the city, and spent hours just doing that – people watching. I personally love eavesdropping on conversations and hearing them pronounce words, hearing their excitement and their sing-song sounds and watching them animate their hands and faces.

We also spent a lot of the time eating gelatos, awesome foccacia and walking around looking at local stores and leather goods.

Here are some snaps to summarise our cruisey time in Florence.

Having another caricature drawn while outside of the Duomo.
Having another caricature drawn while outside of the Duomo.
Oh my god, my cheeks... I'm a hamster with stuff in its mouth.
Oh my god, my cheeks… I’m a hamster with stuff in its mouth.
A nice sunny day in Florence.
A nice sunny day in Florence.
I'm a sagittarius.
I’m a sagittarius.
Kev's a virgo
Kev’s a virgo
This is the place to get the BEST foccacia sandwiches ALIVE! No joke, we came to this place once a day and each time there was a line! All the locals come here!
This is the place to get the BEST foccacia sandwiches ALIVE! No joke, we came to this place once a day and each time there was a line! All the locals come here!
Loving the 2 Euro self service of wine with our foccacia
Loving the 2 Euro self service of wine with our foccacia
Kev with his new haircut and loving his gelato.
Kev with his new haircut and loving his gelato.
A caricature of Kev and I.
A caricature of Kev and I (obviously drawn prior to Kev’s haircut).
My sketch of the Duomo in pen my new notebook.
My sketch of the Duomo in pen my new notebook.
On Ponte Vecchio at night.
On Ponte Vecchio at night.
In front of the replica of Michaelangelo's David at
In front of the replica of Michaelangelo’s David at the Piazza della Signoria
It's a turtle cookie!
It’s a turtle cookie!
Kev having a Florentine steak - that being 500g of meaty goodness.
Kev having a Florentine steak – that being 500g of meaty goodness.
Outside the Duomo
Outside the Duomo
“OH!”
My last Italian hot chocolate!
My last Italian hot chocolate!

Final thoughts

Looking back at our time in Florence, though we did not do a lot of the touristy things such as taking a cooking class (which is something I had wanted to do), visit the Uffizi Meseum to see the beautiful ‘Birth of Venus‘ or see the original Michaelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell Accademia, I was very happy to have appreciated the little things about the culture in Florence and Italy. I was thrilled that I tried the Italian coffee (by taking some sips off Kev as I am not a coffee drinker), surprised that I ate tiramisu that I actually liked, figured out how to cook the perfect risotto, sketched a masterpiece of the Duomo, realised that Kev and I started to desire a glass of red wine with all our meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and finally, I got to try and speak Italian in the restaurants and at the post office when trying to figure out how to send another package home full of old clothes. Being able to communicate and get a response that you were hoping for is always just so energising!

On Kev’s side, I am sure he is proud of eating all of that 500g of Florentine steak, content that he tried the famous Florentine tripe and was able to conclude that he was never eating it again, relieved to have finally gotten a hair cut, and happy to have eaten that awesome foccacia almost every day.

Oh! I forgot! I got to rub that famous Il Porcellino at Mercato Nuovo which means that I am destined to return back to Florence one day. So not all is lost!

Yay for coming back to Florence one day!
Yay to coming back to Florence one day!

 

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