Basically what went down this weekend is that I had a free night from www.hotels.com having used them to book habitually whenever I travel and you are able to collect nights on a virtual 'stamp card' until you get a free one! Decided to spend the Saturday night in Florence using this free night and take the opportunity to head down for our all-time favourite meal: La Bistecca alla Fiorentina (it deserves to be capitalized and bolded). We went to Perseus, about a 1km stroll from the Duomo, upon the recommendation of locals. Here we are seated, our reflections in the mirror.
When you walk into this restaurant, let me assure you that you won't want to leave. It has this rather eccentric decor and showcases all kinds of "meat" (head to the bathrooms if you want to be part of the inside joke). Adding to the ambience was the fact that it was near full at 2pm in the afternoon and the table next to us came equipped with a crew of pony-tailed, suit=wearing, cell-phone-talking Italians that could have passed for real mafiosi.
We ordered the usual amount- 1.8kg for each person. Cesare and Mauro, two of Massi's friends, I swear to God, finished their entire steak and were 1.8kg heavier by the end of the meal. Sensibly, Massi and I shared and were henceforth able to walk without waddling when we finally got up to head to the main sights. Here's a sampling of what you could choose from, as well as a look at the back corner of the restaurant at around 4pm in the afternoon (photo above) when we were trying to mentally prepare for physical movement. All in all, the experience was perfect. I'm an Albertan and we are known for the quality of our beef. The only steak I really ever enjoy in Italy is the fiorentina and this one lived up to expectations. The only thing is be prepared to spend a pretty dime, good meat doesn't come cheap.
So next stop was the Duomo and Ponte Vecchio. No matter how many times you've been to Florence (I'm up to the fourth time), you just have to. It's like a magnet drawing you (and the thousands upon thousands of other tourists) to the center. Massi gets embarrassed when I act all touristy, but just because I live here in Italy doesn't mean a thing- every city is so beautiful it makes me want to cry! Instead, I settle for snapping photographs like an Asian tourist on methamphetamine mixed with caffeine. Here's the one rare photo of the two of us:
Florence's Duomo has to be one of my favourites, simply because I find the color combination mesmerizing. If you've seen it in person, you know it has earthy shades of rose and green. What's even more interesting to me is pondering what Massi sees as he is red-green colorblind. Here's a more complete view of the front and really the only decent angle you can take of Duomo unless you want to capture the sea of milling tourists on the ground:
After making our rounds for the good part of the afternoon, we dropped Massi's friends off at the train station so they could head back to Bergamo. Since the sun was getting lower in the sky, we decided to go straight to Piazzale Michelangelo for the best sunset views of Florence. If you're not a fan of public PDA, you might want to avoid this place- everywhere you turn, there are couples indulging in the romantic atmosphere let's say. There was also quite a bit of overindulgence and then of course, the ever-present vandalism in the name of love:
There's truly something about the Tuscan light that renders everything almost heavenly. Even this food truck above which would seem tacky and terrible in normal light, but somehow takes on a romantic feel in Tuscany. While everyone stayed around the piazzale, we walked a little further up and found this wonderful church. It ended up being a great retreat from the crowds below and the view was spectacular. Also, do you ever think about the trees in Tuscany? In my humble opinion, they add immensely to the atmosphere. You known you've changed regions when you start to see the landscape give rise to cypress trees and vegetation like you see below:
Stay tuned later this week for a continuation of our Florentine adventures, you won't want to miss where we stayed, it was my very, very favourite hotel in Italy so far...!
Jasmine is a former pharmacist turned freelance writer, foodie, and fashionista from Alberta, Canada living "the sweet life" in Bergamo, Italy.