La Gazelle - Page 77

escapade à Florence I getaway in Florence I Ponte Vecchio, the most ancient bridge in Florence. Originally made of wood, it was rebuilt in stone in 1345. At this time, the bridge was occupied by butchers and tanners until Ferdinand 1er de Médicis replaced them with jewellers, still there today. Right above those luxury boutiques is the Vasari Corridor. Thanks to this elevated passageway, the Medici made sure they could move freely and safely between their residence in Palazzo Pitti and Palazzo Vecchio. The San Spirito district On the other side of the Arno (“Oltrarno”), there are lots of new architectural treasures. I discover Palazzo Pitti, which once was the main residence of the Médicis. Its façade, made according to the bugnato style, gives a austere and powerful visual aspect to the palace. Transferred to the State in 1919, it became the greatest museum in Florence. The last rays of sunlight are fading and our long walk has worked up my appetite. My friend and I head to the Piazza San Spirito, a place whose charm is different from what I have seen of Florence until now. We enter the restaurant Olio & Convivium, inside the Palazzo Caponi. The establishment is dedicated to wine and gastronomic research. Only fresh and fine products are on the menu. If you have some time on your hands, you can enjoy the “Bottega dell’Olio”, in order to learn about the gustatory qualities of oil and how to perfectly combine your dishes with it. Once satisfied, we head slowly toward the hotel while admiring the city by night. If the people of Florence are not night owls, the center of the city, entirely pedestrian, is filled with tourists at night. 2nd day Santa Croce district The alarm wakes me up, it’s 8h30. I jump off my bed and have breakfast on the Finisterrae terrace. This small restaurant overlooks the Piazza Santa Croce and offers a breathtaking view of the Basilic of the same name. The waiter tells me that it was built by the Franciscans during the 13th century and that inside of it rest the tombs of the greatest Florentine families, among them the Medicis. As for the place, it was the playground of the “calcio storico fiorentino», a very popular kind of football during Renaissance. I finish my capuccino with “cornetto” looking at Dante’s statue, whose icy look is making me feel more and more uncomfortable. While wa