Friday, October 2, 2009

A Little Gnoccho

And so, a whole month and two days after we landed back in the US I'm ready to end the Italy blog posts. I wish I could say I've thought long and hard over this post, but I haven't. Life here is more hectic than Italy and I wonder how people ever get to blog more than once a week never mind every day. How do they do it? Are they such natural writers that the words just bubble out, ready-made and beautiful? Not so much with me, I just spew and am done, but I did promise one more Italy post.
The view from Galileo's drying room.
If we were given the opportunity, would we do it again? Oh hell yes!
Would we do everything the same? Oh hell no.

Favorite places, things and people of Florence

Favorite Green Space to take a Toddler in Florence

Parco de Villa Strozzi - not far from the city walls, with some nice strolling among locals and spectacular Tuscan views from the Southeast corner and cool playground equipment. This is how a park should be.

Favorite Place to View the Firenze Skyline:

Giardino Bardini - This was a favorite haunt as you know. There were days when we visited on a Sunday morning and didn't see another soul there for hours. Then the tourists would show up, recovering from last nights big meal and the breakfast pastries ready to do the tourist thing and we'd give up our fanciful dream of the garden actually being ours.

Favorite Trattoria to take Guests:

Toss up between Quattro Leoni and San Agostino. Personally, I liked the funky twist on food that San Agostino did.

Best Place to buy Produce in Oltrarno:

In the morning market of Santo Spirito. It wasn't my favorite place to buy produce, that was down the road at a Ortofruta down on San Agostino, but it had the better produce. I enjoyed the joking and the bantered down at the Ortofruta and they did have the best mint.
Favorite Date Trattoria:

D and I would probably argue over this, but seeing as I'm writing the post I get to say Cavolo Nero. Their menu changes 4 times a year with the seasons. Go in Spring.

Favorite Trattoria to take a Toddler:
Trattoria da Ginone followed by any of those in Piazza della Passera. Da Ginone has straightforward good food, Nola (the chef) and Massimo (the waiter) were fab with our toddler too. We were always met with a smile and we left with one too. The Piazza della Passera sports 3 great eating establishments and lots of character. Music often in the evenings and a small square that a toddler can run around in a little after dinner.

Favorite Gelato: Nocciola or maybe fig. Yes, definitely fig or perhaps yogurt and nutella. Pistachio? I think I need to go back and try some more.
Favorite town or city:
Sienna - I'd love to go back

Favorite place to sit with child asleep in a pram

Osteria Santo Spirito. Okay, I had a very large glass of wine in my hand and a fabulous salad in front of me. Only a few lunches were spent like this. In fact that is a regret that more weren't spent in such a manner.
Must see big attractions
Skip seeing the inside of the Duomo. As my mum says there is no sense of God or anything else other than tourism there. You can find that ethereal beauty in many of the other places around town. See David. Take the double decker bus tour if you're in for a quick visit.
Favorite Neighbourhood: San Niccolo

Oh Lord, this favorite thing could go on forever. I should stop. What would we do differently?
Living right by the Arno and Ponte Vecchio meant that we did get to go out in the evening(not often because of my work) there was loads going on and that was fabulous. I wish we had spent more time exploring Florence in the summer evenings. It was a great apartment, but the lack of any outdoor space, any easy place to open a door and let Ila out in fresh, alright high particulate matter air, was frustrating. Another time we would rent something outside the city walls, and with a least a good size patio. We'd also try and get some beat up car for the time so that we could travel a little more. There was much to see and do in Italy and we both wished we'd seen more of Tuscany, a car would have afforded us more options to do that. (Potty training didn't make lots of bus trips particularly attractive.) I think I'd actually like to have a tv. I think I would have learned more Italian that way. I also would actually study the language before. I wouldn't say I was going to work 20 hours a week. It was definitely closer to 30 hours which after a day with a toddler was tough. Although, I'd also put said toddler in some daycare next time. That was the toughest thing about this trip, Ila's isolation. But Italy. Italy was pretty damn cool.

A note. This blog is called A Little Gnocchi. It was named before I had taken any Italian classes. After about the second one I realized I had a problem. Gnocchi is plural, gnoccho singular. For the sake of agreement this really should be A Little Gnoccho. Thanks for reading along and keeping me company.

A Little Gnocchi.