The last time I was in Florence was almost two years ago. I went there, only for the day, to assist as a translator for my dear friend Yolanda who wanted to meet her Italian-side of the family for the very first time. Since it was such a short trip, I always knew that someday I would visit the beautiful Tuscan city again; to bask in its architecture, cuisine and history.
And so, a few days before Valentine’s Day, Denis surprised me with a fabulous idea: a day trip to Florence! Tren Italia was offering a special: 2 tickets for the price of 1 on their high speed train. This meant it would only take three hours to arrive in Florence from Turin. How could we possibly pass this up?
It was a gloriously crisp, winter day in Florence and unlike Turin, snow was nowhere to be found! Our first stop was The Duomo and then it was Uffizi, which is one of the most famous museums in all of Italy. While we walked along the outer corridor of the museum Denis posed to take a picture with Niccolò Macchiavelli and I took one with Amerigo Vespucci, whom the Americas were named after.
One can walk practically all of Florence and so by this time we were ready for lunch. When Denis asked me to pick a place for lunch I knew right away where I wanted to go. Years ago, a former neighbor/chef recommended Sasso di Dante. It’s a small restaurant so making a reservation is a must. Sasso means stone in Italian and it lies just next to The Duomo in the Piazza delle Pallottole. It is said that the great poet Dante used to go there to relax and watch the construction of the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore or the Cathedral of Saint Mary’s Flower.
Sasso di Dante is the perfect non-touristy restaurant in Florence and then some! The food is outstanding, seasonal in typical Florentine fare and the price is exceptional for the value. I ordered their tagliata di maiale di cinta senese con cavolo nero e mela. Cinta senese is a special breed of pork that comes from Siena in the southern part of Tuscany. This particular type of meat makes for some good eats. The pork was cooked to perfection: crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. It came with due contorni or two sides; sauteed kale and apples.
Denis ordered the maltagliati alla chiantigiana. Maltagliati (mal-tahl-YAH-ti) in Italian refers to the shape of the pasta, almost like a free- form pasta which consists of thick strands that are cut in a random fashion. Braised slices of beef were cooked in a delectable red wine (chianti) sauce and the combination was simply devine!
Sasso di Dante, Piazza della Pallottole, 6r, telephone: 055 282133