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Report 679: A Student in Florence

By colleenk from MA, Spring 2004

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Page 8 of 16: Frescoes and Fiesole

photo by Colleen K

Fiesole Etruscan Ruins

Monday, May 3, 2004

Monday morning and itís back to Italian class and my wonderful teacher Marco who makes learning Italian fun despite my brain fatigue. Today was partly sunny, with more clouds and rain predicted for the rest of the week, so Camilla and I thought this might be a good day to see the sunset from Fiesole. But first it was off to lunch at Trattoria del Carmine, Piazza del Carmine, 18r, tel. 218.601. This is a typical Italian trattoria filled with locals with very good food at very reasonable prices. We could not believe the amount of food the 3 Italian gentlemen next to us were consuming - pranzo surely is the big meal of the day! We had some nice pasta dishes and I would be happy to go back again to experience more of their good food, atmosphere and friendly service.

Then it was off Capella Brancacci to see the beautiful frescoes by Masolino, Masaccio and Filippino Lippi. I didnít remember that they only let small groups of people in for a 15 minute time period. I didnít feel that 15 minutes was enough and it didnít help that I got a phone call when I was there which cut into my time. I still love this chapel though. From there it was on to Madova gloves, Via Guicciardini, 1R to return a pair of gloves with a small flaw. They happily exchanged them without a hassle. This store has an amazing array of beautiful gloves. The quality is fantastic and a pair I bought 3 years ago has worn very well.

Happily, a fellow slow traveler Debbie (aka Vindesante on the Slow Travel message board) suggested we meet her in Fiesole for dinner as she was staying in an agriturismo there. Great, she would take care of dinner reservations and perhaps we would get to see our sunset. We took the #7 bus from San Marco and arrived 20 minutes later. We walked through the town a bit, had a few cookies at the most wonderful pastry shop in town (they truly melted in your mouth and the buttery taste was phenomenal - best cookies of the whole trip!) and decided to go to the archaeological area and museums. The grounds were very beautiful and we took many pictures of the surrounding countryside.

Time for a cocktail while taking in the glorious view of Florence before we met up with Debbie. Halfway through our prosecco, the dark clouds, wind and rain descended and we had to run inside before we were blown away! So much for our sunset. But there was something cool and dramatic about the dark clouds over Florence too.

Debbie picked us up and brought us to Le Lance Ristorante, Via G. Mantellini 2/b, that had been recommended to her by her agriturismo host. This was the most American meal I experienced in Italy. Although it was filled with locals, it was a very contemporary restaurant (including the art work) and the portions of food were huge! I mistakenly ordered a fried chicken dish, which came complete with a large order of French fries, making me feel as if I was dining in the Sates! My dining companions had more Tuscan fare but none of it was outstanding. The exception was the wine. Campo Ai Sassi Frescobaldi, a Rosso di Montalcino 2002 that was outstanding. I later saw this bottle of wine at various wine stores and was sorry I didnít buy one to bring home with me.

The company and the view made for a nice evening and I was happy to have seen Fiesole. Camilla had her wedding ceremony in Fiesole 2 years ago so it was nice for her to return as well.

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