Florence For the F*cking Starving
Arrive in Florence with the appetite of a grizzly bear that just weathered the longest winter of his life. You’ll need a second stomach to eat the bare minimum of must-try’s in this Tuscan capital — which includes, fittingly, a cow’s second stomach. I put together this guide for anyone who wants to plow mouth-first through the birthplace of the Renaissance. Michelangelo’s David can wait; mama wants a panini (or two).
STAY at My Friends Hostel so you can become BFFs with owner Nadina, who effortlessly combines German cool with Italian sass. The rooms are fine, the bathrooms clean, and the complementary breakfast includes no less than three types of carbohydrates.
WORK at Biblioteca delle Oblate, a library popular with college kids but open to everyone. Take the elevator to the second floor and work en plein air with free wifi and magnificent views of the Duomo. God how will you ever work in an office again?
BREAKFAST isn’t really a thing here, plus if you’re following my advice you’ll be full from the toast, croissant, and Swiss roll you had at My Friends Hostel. But if you’re still hungry, go to Ditta Artigianale. This hip little café is more Brooklyn than Florence; it caters to hardcore coffee snobs with laptops.
LUNCH, ACT I at All’Antico Vinaio, I don’t care how long the lines are. You need their shatteringly crisp crust, featherweight slices of salami, and clouds of truffled mascarpone (or something?) in your life. Get it to go and eat it as you stroll by the Arno River. Life doesn’t get better than this.
LUNCH, ACT II WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT. Go to the takeout window of Da’ Vinattieri and order the lampredotto. The girl serving you will use tongs to pull out a long, grey, crimped organ that used to the second stomach of a cow. She’ll chop it into smithereens, tuck it into a white bread bun, and smother it with a green sauce of parsley, garlic, and anchovies. It tastes like an Arby’s roast beef sandwich, but a million times better. You’ll wonder why we don’t eat more cow stomach in the U.S.
DRINKS at Le Volpi e L’Uva, a darling wine bar with a chalkboard menu of Tuscan wines by the glass and still life-worthy cheese plates. Get there early because there are only about fifteen seats. I hate to tell you this, but don’t fill up on cheese. Up next is…
DINNER at [YOUR RECOMMENDATION HERE] for bistecca all fiorentina, a thick, marbled cut of steak drizzled with olive oil and herbs and served bleeding on a cutting board with an anthill of salt. This Florentine specialty — and its price tag — is worth the indulgence. I went to All’Antico Ristoro di Cambi, and while the meat was incomparable, the ambiance was lacking (too touristy). I want to believe there’s a better place for steak in Florence.
DESSERT AND MORE at Gelateria dei Neri. Personally, I would choose their homemade Nutella over sex most days of the week. You’ll see what I mean when you press play.