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A Winter's Day in Florence

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February 15, 2016 / Italian / By
Anna

A winter’s day in Florence is a treat we always manage to find time for. There are few tourists, so few queues. In one day it is possible to have a delicious breakfast in a fancy bar, see two significant sights, have a leisurely lunch and catch the four o’clock train home, well satisfied.

This year followed this exact pattern but we had chosen to go on what turned out to be a stunningly cold day. The temperature never got above 3 degrees Centigrade. There should have been time for a hot chocolate, but there just wasn’t.

After one museum and a church, we were really cold and definitely on the track of a good lunch. It was only about 12.30, so too early to stalk the Italian office workers as they head to their favorite haunts. And experience has taught us to steer clear of places around the major sights. The food can be expensive and indifferent. Also, the presence of heavily armed law enforcement officers did not act as an incentive to hang around the Duomo.

So we crossed the river and headed for an area opposite the Pitti Palace where we had had success in the past. Actually, we were looking for a specific place but when we found it, the fact that it had so many tables outside made us lose confidence. We have come to see this as a sign of a tourist venue and not a sign of quality. After some faffing about, perhaps due to the cold, we dived in.

Well, what a good decision! The interior is almost hippy chic and did not reassure me. It was already packed with a mix of Italians and visitors, but there were definitely more Italians. We relaxed. It soon became clear that this was popular with Italians and by 1.00, it was full inside. Some brave people sat outside with rugs on their knees. Whether mad or fans of the cuisine, I couldn’t say.

For once, The Tall Guy and I ordered the same two things – mussel soup and gnocchi. There must have been two or even three dozen mussels in the soup. They were fat and juicy and the tomato soup was loaded with garlic. I often order a mussel dish when I am out and about in Italy, especially at the seaside, mainly because I find them so tedious to clean, so I am now a self-confessed expert on the dish. This one was the best.

The gnocchi in a tomato and meat ragu was also very good, but I was so stuffed with mussels by then, I do not think I really appreciated it. There was no room for dessert, but having finished the excellent Chianti and knowing it was going to be cold outside, we finished off with a grappa. The first time I tried grappa I was unimpressed, but like many things, association leads to respect and on it goes. So Osteria Santo Spirito, we’ll be back. But not until next autumn or winter. Village life has made us so intolerant of crowds.

Osteria Santo Spirito

Country: Italy

Province/State: Toscana

City: Florence

Address: Piazza Santo Spirito, 16

Zip/Post Code: N/A

Location Tips: N/A

Phone: +39 055 2382383

Website:http://www.osteriasantosp...

Price Guide:$$ (What's this?) N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc

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