Saturday, February 21, 2009


I promise no literary brilliance, no wit, no fabulous insights, and no grammatical precision, any provided are a result of sheer bloody luck and probably attributable to someone else. That said, you asked for it and so here it is, a blog so you can experience Florence vicariously through us. Please note that most posts will probably written after a few glasses of wine and so your vicarious experience is probably one recollected by someone a little inebriated who tends toward the verbose when drunk.  Welcome to "A Little Gnocchi".

Despite our fears that our last transatlantic experience (18 unmercifully long hours with a screaming toddler, who never slept) would be repeated, we totally lucked out. Maybe it was the Benadryl, the brilliant travel bags prepared by Kerry (I'll share more about these at another time, but thank you Kerry), or  maybe it was the portable DVD player that made the difference, who knows, who cares, but the trip wasn't bad at all. 

We're staying at a temporary apartment until March 9th, when we get to move into our long-term apartment which is close by. We're just south of the river, the Arno, which runs through Florence. The river separates us from the hustle and bustle of the main tourist areas, but within a five-minute walk of Ponte Vecchio. We're surrounded by small trattorias, local artist galleries, bakeries, butchers, cheese shops, antique restoration places, and best yet, a yarn store AND a fabric store are just down the street. Now the yarn store is closing this month (must check out and see if they're having a sale), and the fabric store appears to be home decor stuff, but what a good start. 

The temporary apartment is great. A loft  with a kitchenette and a couple of bathrooms.  The owners have really accommodated us, providing a pack and play for Ila, some small toys etc. For your viewing pleasure, the photograph above is out of the window of our apartment.

My mum and her friend Jill arrived the same day as us, stayed in a hotel on the other side of the river and joined us for meals. It is twenty years since I've lived this close to my mum and the majority of my side of the family. I'm pretty excited about seeing them more. Mum, I owe you 200 Euros. I'm holding the money ransom until Norman comes over, or at least until your visit next month. 

We've done no sight seeing ourselves. Correction, we've done no intentional sight seeing, but it is hard not to see sights at every turn in this city. We've skimmed the edges of Boboli Gardens, walked past the Duomo, and walked across Ponte Vecchio multiple times. I love that this is a city for walking. 

So what can I share? Well, it's me, so what do you expect? Today- places to eat when you visit us (you are going to visit us, aren't you?):
Alla Vecchia Bettola
Just outside the city walls. This is one of Doug's favourite places. 
Good God, this place is great. It opens at 7:30pm, we arrived shortly after and by 8pm the place was heaving. The food was amazing. We ordered a crostini that Ila devoured, leaving little for me. Note to self, must get two orders if I expect to have any. The Penne alla Bettola is in a spicy vodka tomato based cream sauce. It has a nice kick to it and so we licked our plates clean. This is the time where I admit that we drank some wine before dinner, some while we were there and then I finished off dinner with some biscotti soaked in cognac. Sinful and yes I was toast. I'm guessing the smaller portions and our lack of car are going to be what save me from myself while we're here. 
Trattoria da Ginone
Just inside the city walls, south of the river this is close to our friend Guido's place. Guido introduced Doug to it last time they were both here. Little hole in the wall place. I had the Zucchini Blossom Fettucini, which was amazing, and because Ila has been demanding gnocchi morning, noon and night for the past 36 hours she had the gnocchi.  Which brings me to the title of this blog. What is it with kids?  I mean we've introduced her to gnocchi back in Tucson, but all of a sudden she starts demanding it, when we get to Italy? Not sure I blame her, all that potato goodness in a nice light puffy package. Trattoria da Ginone's was the best gnocchi I've ever had. 

Hey, just have to share, outside our window in the street there is a guy singing.  Somehow drunks singing in Italian sound so much better than English drunk singing. 

So beyond eating, I have the following goals for while we're in Firenze:
1. Check out the city for toddler friendly experiences
2. Learn Italian
3. Learn to cook

and a question...
What do you think, Ila's bedtime in Tucson is 7:15pm and she wakes between 5:30am-6:30am.  As we adjust for the time difference, I'm thinking of moving it to 8-8:30pm so she wakes after 7am or do I have no say in this really, am I just fooling myself?  Those with toddlers, is it feasible to move bed times around like this?


  1. yay!! glad to see you keeping us up to date in a more thorough way then Facebook. So glad Ila enjoyed her "goodie bags," Miles kept trying to Shanghai them ;)

    Keep the good word coming.


  2. Hey, I love it! You are so verbose and brilliant!

    Yeah, you can move their bedtime. For sure.

    Go Ila--gnocchi is soooooo good.

    More pics, more pics! We love you.

  3. We massaged Edden's bedtime when we moved to Israel. Go for it! Light seems to be a huge trigger for wakeup time for Edden, which is helpful in dealing with jetlag, but not so good for sleeping past the break of dawn. For the most part, the Israelis have much better ways of making windows light-proof than I've seen in the US. Not sure how Italy stacks up in that regard, or if it matters for Ila.

    I'm glad to hear that the trip went well with Ila. Can't wait to read along with your adventures in Florence!

  4. We'll follow your lead regarding bedtimes then. Most places seem to have shutters which makes it easier.

    Will try and figure out what was amiss with my post yesterday that prevented me from dispersing pictures throughout and then will bombard you with photos.