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Report 454: Florence On My Own: Three Weeks of Studying Italian and Very Slow Travel

By Marian from New Jersey, Spring 2004

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Page 13 of 21: A lunch with ST’ers, a museum visit, a special dinner

Tuesday 18 May: This morning as I am leaving for class I get a call from Suzie Kane of ST. We have planned to have lunch one day; she and her husband are now just starting a two-week session at the Scuola Leonardo, not to far from Koinč. So we arrange to meet at Il Ritrovo for lunch today; they want to try it and I am willing to give it a second try. I need to stay in centro cittŕ anyway today, as I somehow recall that I have a reservation for the Uffizi. (I had meant to make a reservation for the Accademia, but was distracted while online! I’ve been to the Uffizi twice in the past three years, but haven’t been to the Accademia since, probably, 1968!)

The Kanes and I have a very pleasant lunch at Il Ritrovo, but, echoing my thoughts, Joe says upon seeing the bill, “How did it get to be so much?” The food is good, but nothing to rave about. And the prices are not high, but the young waiter (who will speak only English to us) makes such a big deal about the special lunch, at an extremely reasonable price, that one is surprised to see that the price is much more than expected. The total is € 46 for the three of us, so it’s still quite reasonable, but we all think that the house wine is rather more expensive than it need to be, and that the cover is high.

But we have a pleasant time; the Kanes are staying in an apartment of the Costa San Giorgio, and love it. They also love their school. I say goodbye; we will see each other again at the big ST GTG scheduled for May 24.

Again, I wander a bit and then head to the Uffizi. It is crowded near there, but once I pick up a ticket, a very nice guard makes sure I get in quickly — there are big groups with tickets and he tells another guard to let me in before the group, as I am on my own. Of course the Uffizi is wonderful, crowded or not. I look for the Caravaggios and cannot find them. A guard tells me that they have been moved down to a new gallery on the first floor (of course, there is no sign informing anyone of this). I finally locate the Caravaggio gallery, and the paintings are, as always, gorgeous.

On the way home, I pass by Madova gloves for the third or fourth time in a week. This is as good a time as any to make my purchases, and I do. Three pair of gloves: One black, a bit longer than wrist length, lined in cashmere; a second more casual pair, light brown lined in sheepskin. Then a light-colored pair of unlined pigskin driving gloves. Very elegant!

Tonight Rosemarie and I have dinner at Cavolo Nero, right next door. The food is wonderful, as is the entire experience. The waitress starts out by offering us prosecco. For dinner, I have timbale di zucchini con pesto and tagliatelle di tonne con sesame. Rosemarie has acciugghe and carciofi parmigiana. We each have a glass of Vernaccia, and split a wonderful apple tart for dessert. Total cost € 65.50.

Just to show that SlowTrav is everywhere: Soon after we are seated, I hear a man telling the owner in English that he is at this particular restaurant because it is highly recommended on a travel website — SlowTrav! It is KenC from Boston, and his wife Jo Anne, celebrating their anniversary (35th, I think) with a trip to Italy! After their dinner we chat a bit. Truly a small world.

The only bad part of eating at Cavolo Nero is that it’s too close to home to walk off the food. So I accompany Rosemarie down to the bridge, still not much of a walk.

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