Fucked in Florence
During their random European adventure, Jason and Stefan decided to hit up the lovely city of Florence, Italy for a day of good sights and great food. Both have been there before and both have Florence near the top of their list of cities to visit again, so it was the ideal location to meet up in leading up to the Il Palio di Siena. Prior to Florence, the 2 were last seen roaming around the rainy streets of Venice, before Stefan continued on to the beautiful city of Verona, while Jason flew out to London for a special concert and then a quick visit to Munich before taking an overnight train to arrive early enough to enjoy a full day in Florence.
Meeting at the very well equipped Hostel Plus, the two were able to leave their bags in storage and venture out to explore the city. Passing by a patisserie, there was a sudden craving for cannolis. Two euros later and they both agreed that they’ve had better. Nonetheless, the featured meals were still to come.
First on the agenda was the legendary Trattoria Mario for some cheap but delicious pastas and Florentine steak. The hole in the wall, family run restaurant forces you to share tables within its cramped space, but it is the closest thing to a home cooked Italian meal you will find at a restaurant. Eagerly anticipating the feed, Jason and Stefan arrive early to find the garage like door, that is used as the entrance, shut with the opening times of noon to 3pm written on it. No worries, they will continue roaming the city and have a coffee until opening. When noon rolls around, Jason and Stefan return to the restaurant only to see the door still shut. Upon further inspection, there is an additional sign on the door written in Italian with a date on it. From their broken Italian vocab recognition, they come to the conclusion that the restaurant is closed until Aug 31 with the entire staff on vacation. Blast!
Still hungry, the 2 walk to another part of town to find a bistro style cafe for some light eats. The spaghetti with meatballs lured them in but disappointed them when they were not the giant size meaty meat balls that they were expecting. Walking out of the cafe, they come across a restaurant area filled with wonderfully smelling foods that would have been a much better choice at a cheaper price too. Dammit!
Taking their minds off of food now, Stefan recommends to check out a look out place that he remembers being on a hill by a church with a fantastic view of the city. Wandering around in circles they eventually find what appears to be the similar hill that Stefan walked up on a decade ago. Going with his natural instincts Stefan leads the way up a slowly winding road going uphill for a kilometer in the torturous 35 degree heat. At the top they reach what appears to be some sort of fort. Maybe it was a fort and not a church that they were suppose to be looking for. At the entrance, however, they see nothing but a garden with a 12 euro entrance charge and no city view. Shit!
Returning to the hostel, Jason and Stefan decide to drink their problems away with cheap store bought beer and then numerous bottles of 5 euro white wine. It seemed like a good idea at the time and with the company of some hostel friends, the day became definitely more enjoyable than the failures of before.
With their heads held higher than ever, they decide to try their luck with food once again and look for the other restaurant of choice Il Latini. This was the place to get Florentine steak. But because of the amount of crowds that normally surround this place, a backup plan for food was decided upon. Going by Jason’s memory of directions this time around, the 2 wander down to the river with their hostel friends and then wander some more onto smaller streets with little hope of finding the place. But just as they were about to give up, Jason leads them around a corner and there it was, Il Latini, and there were no line ups outside how strange. Approaching closer to the restaurant, they realize that it is also closed with it’s staff on vacation. Fuck! They were fucked in Florence.
The backup plan was enforced and finally able to provide them with the elusive Bistecca alla Florentine for a discounted price thanks to a hook up with one of their hostel friends knowing the owner. The steak was satisfying but beware, Italian food in Italy, not always as advertised!”