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Report 834: There's No Such Thing as Too Much...Pasta and Ceramics

By Palma from California, Fall 2005

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Page 10 of 23: Tuesday, September 13: Firenze

photo by Brad Hansen

Firenze

We had breakfast and left at 9:25 for a shopping day in Firenze. This is my fourth and shortest visit to Florence and the first time Iíve been there on a sunny day.

We parked at Piazza Michangelo and just missed the #13 bus into the center of town, so we took a taxi. Brad and I split up from Jan and Les and we agreed to meet at 3p.m. at the Neptune fountain at Piazza della Signora. We found the first item on my shopping list immediately at our first stop, Passamaneria Valmar. We bought six gorgeous, large, peach and gold tassels for the dining room, in about 10 minutes. I knew just what I wanted and now we can have drapes made to complete our new dining room.

We wandered through the shopping district, stopped at the Duomo, drooled over the dishes at A. Pozzi, bought four new Nomination charms (my third all-Italy bracelet is now complete!), got a few Christmas gifts for the kids, and made it out of the Furla store with no purchase. We stopped for lunch: tortelli with sausage and porcini for me, and a plate of cheese and salumi misti for Brad.

We found Jan and Les on time, took a taxi back to the car, and were back at Amorosa by five for a cup of coffee and some downtime. Jan and Les decided to stay there for dinner, but Brad and I were determined to try a restaurant we had read about on Slowtrav: Il Canto di Maggio.

We left at 7:30, drove north on the Autostrada past Arezzo and got off at the Terranova Bracciolini exit, looking for the tiny town of Penna. We found Penna by accident, following our instincts, as the area was very dark, and there were no signs. Finally, we saw a sign leading up a hill to the restaurant. This is the kind of place you could ONLY find by word of mouth, because one would not end up here on purpose. We pursued what could have been a wild goose chase, but Slowtrav has not disappointed us yet!

Out in the middle of nowhere, we climbed a narrow, steep, curving driveway to get to the parking lot at 8:15 on a grey drizzly night, and the place was packed! The whole restaurant had around 14 tables, and only two were empty! It is a charming, Tuscan, two-story house with plaster walls and a spiral staircase where we were seated in the upstairs dining room. There was a brick niche with shelves and a lovely old fireplace. I had the best spinach gnocchi of my life, that melted in your mouth like tiny marshmallows in a pecorino sauce. Brad had linguini in a spicy herb sauce with cherry tomatoes. For our second course I had coniglio rotelli stuffed with ricotta and pecorino, and sage potatoes. Brad had braised chingale. We drank an Alto Aldige Pinot Grigio. After dinner I was served coffee on the terazza so I could smoke, and there was a giant sized Pinocchio marionette on the front porch.

We got back to our room by midnight. Dinner was such a surprise treat after a busy day in Firenze. Thanks to Dennis in PAís trip report and review, which inspired us to make the drive. It was SO worth it!

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