I decided to eat at Trattoria Cibreo last night. It had been recommended to me by both my hotel and the food tour I did on Monday. It opens at 7.00 in the evening. There are reports of long queues and you can’t book so I decided to get there in time for opening. As it happened there wasn’t a queue but then it’s not really peak season in Florence yet. The trattoria is the more simple, cheaper version of the Cibreo restaurant next door. There’s also a Caffe Cibreo nearby but on a grand cafe style and also quite expensive. When the trattoria opened I opted to sit inside rather than on the terrace outside.
It was very much a typical Tuscan trattoria inside; just the kind of place I love. The menu was quite short and handwritten. The staff were really friendly and helpful. Soon I’d ordered and had some wine before me.
I had some chicken liver pate to start and it came with little pieces of toast and some wonderful integrale bread they make themselves. The pate was deliciously light and creamy.
For my main I chose chicken and ricotta meatballs in tomato sauce. It was such a simple dish but wonderfully done with incredibly light and delicious meatballs and fabulous, deep tasting tomato sauce. They served it with some chickpeas dressed in olive oil on the side.
I finished with a slice of gorgeous flourless chocolate cake and an espresso. My bill for food and wine was €38.
Before returning to the hotel I walked down to the Ponte Vecchio and saw a wonderful sunset.
I woke to another gorgeous day of sunshine and a temperature in the 30s. The plan of the day was to go to the Boboli Gardens. I hadn’t been before and was keen to see them. I had to cross the Ponte Vecchio to get to them. The Gardens lie behind the Pitti Palace, the main seat of the Medicis in the 16th century. The Gardens are some of the first formal designs of the time and are more about design than colour; there are few plants. There are however magnificent views across the city, requiring quite a hike up steep paths, but definitely worth the effort. The entry fee is €7. Here are some photos:
It was very quiet in the Gardens – I’m sure it won’t be in July and August! – so a lovely peaceful place to pass a couple of hours this morning away from the crowds in the centre of the city.
It was approaching lunchtime and I decided to head back to the Santa Croce area I was in last night. It’s less touristy and more a local place. I wanted just a salad for lunch and thought I’d be sure to find a good one in Caffe Cibreo – part of the restaurant-trattoria family from last night.
I sat on the terrace, which was pleasantly shaded from the hot sun. Their delicious homemade bread came with some almond cream and a glass of white wine I’d ordered.
Then my tuna salad, absolutely perfectly fresh with crisp vegetables and the dressing put on in front of me at the last moment. All very simple and exactly what I wanted.
From the Caffe it was a short walk to Gelateria Vivoli where I went yesterday. I indulged in 3 flavours as it’s my last day, at a bargain €3.50 (it would have cost a lot more in London): pear + caramel, orange cream and stracciatella.
It was SO good! Really incredible.
A bonus and unexpected delight was by chance coming across Casa Buonarroti as I walked along Via Ghilbellina on the way from the Caffe to the gelateria. This palazzo was built in the 17th century by the great nephew of Michelangelo (Buonarroti) to house the artist’s work still owned by the family. It contains two of Michelangelo’s most important early works – 2 bas-reliefs – and a number of very early sculptures in terracotta and many drawings. For €6.50 it was great to go inside and get a close-up view of some of the great artist’s work.