The night after we settled into our humble abode, kismet seemed to already be working in our favor. When Paul had posted that he and I were moving to Italy on his Facebook a few weeks before we left, his friend Beth saw our Facebook posts. It just turns out that Beth and her husband, Greg (who Paul has been friends with for over 10+ years) were going to be in Firenze the same time we were!!!
We were so excited to have them in Firenze the first few nights we discovered the city. It was great to discover more of the city with friends – the more the merrier!
The first night we went to a bar called, Brew Dog. It’s a global bar chain from Scotland, but they had pretty good beer. So far I can’t say the beer in Italy has blown me away. BUT WHY WOULD I DRINK BEER IN ITALY? This is the land of wine! And that is a land I love. Paul likes beer though so once in awhile we change it up 😉
At the bar there was a group of young Italian guys that came in. One of them was wearing a laurel on his head. They all started singing and cheering. Turns out he had just graduated and I guess this is a thing because graduates do. Since that night, I’ve seen five other people out at bars with their friends wearing laurel wreaths.
As we sat there, we met a couple who was traveling for four weeks from Australia. We managed to talk money, politics, and religion without fighting which I honestly was surprised by. Then after a few rounds of beers we were hungry and set off to find a place to eat. The best dish was ordered by Beth who got spaghetti with duck ragu – tagliatelle con ragu anatra. I got pappardelle con ragu di cinghiale – pasta with wild boar ragu. Pappardelle noodles are wide and their name comes from The name derives from the verb “pappare” – to gobble up.
After dinner we still wanted to hang out. We got gelato and I had marscapone e fichi, marscapone and figs. It was one of the top five flavors I’ve tried thus far.
The next night, we met Greg and Beth at Piazzale Michelangelo. We laid out a smorgasbord of cheeses, corner store lasagna (don’t let the corner store fool you), bread and chocolate and chowed down.
Then we wandered the streets and found a place that had an outdoor patio to drink on, Enoteca de’Macci. We ordered this one type of wine, a Negroamaro and we LOVED it. It’s a type of wine made in Salento, Italy – the heel of Italy. It’s flavor is as the name suggests – dark. The color of the wine itself is a dark red sea that swirls in your glass as you sip it down. Its taste is earthy and a little bitter at the end. It’s a sexy wine in my opinion. I have no idea what food it goes with. Paul and I now buy it whenever we see it in the store.
Another person from the past lives in Firenze, too. Paul’s old neighbor, Nate! Nate used to be Paul’s neighbor in Arizona three years ago. It just so happens Nate is now an architect in Firenze. When Nate found out we were moving to Firenze he was ready to show us the town. It really does seem sometimes like the world is a small town. Friends popping up in the most random places!
We met Nate at an aperitivo night. Paul’s first aperitivo experience. In Italy, I like to describe aperitivo as an “Italian” version of happy hour. But this happy hour includes much more food. Aperitivo usually commences after people get off work, around 6pm or 7pm. It can go anywhere from 6-10pm or 8-10pm.
At aperitivo you pay anywhere from the cost of one or two drinks. Once you buy a drink or two, you get a “free” spread of happy hour snacks. This food spread includes pasta, roasted veggies, pasta salad, spinach, mushrooms, etc. If you’re looking for a free-ish evening of decent food and endless amounts of wine, Aperitivo should definitely be a part of your next vacation to Italy. We spent 13 Euros and left slap happy on wine and pasta.
After aperitivo, we headed to the Jazz Club in Firenze. It did not disappoint. Like an actual “club” you have to pay a first time fee of 6 euros. This includes your first drink. Then you get a cool “Jazz Club” card. 🙂 I have no idea why but that is the way they do it.
We listened to fabulous, really talented jazz musicians. I’ve been very impressed at how European musicians deeply respect and enjoy playing Jazz music. As an American, it’s one of the things I’m really glad that America is known for. It’s a beautiful art form. After our late night jazz session we left the club and took a cab home. I’m astonished we were able to get up the next day before 12pm!