Our second day in Firenze was filled with one of my favorite activities -- a food tour!
We met our guide Omar early in the morning in the Oltrarno (the less touristy and more hipstery part of Florence), exchanged hellos with the other foodies in the tour group, and set out for a full-day eating adventure.
Here were the stops:
We started the morning with an espresso and a lovely Florentine treat called budini di riso (a rice pudding tart). Omar explained that each bar in Florence is like the neighborhood go-to spot for every meal including breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and of course, drinks. The bar was filled with faux clouds and lots of artsy jazz-related sculptures.
After coffee, we of course needed some pastries, so we made our way to a traditional biscotti bakery. The owner (of nearly 60 years!) showed us how to make them from scratch and then we ate some freshly baked ones. SO GOOD.
The one stop that took me by surprise was the lampredotto stand. Yes, that is a cow stomach, and yes, I did eat it. Lampredotto is a traditional staple of Florentine cuisine, and since we were on a food tour with lots of peer pressure, I went for it. I have to say -- it was pretty good!
The next stop was to the "Cheese King of Florence" where we sampled a bunch of local pecorinos and flavored salamis. NOMS.
What goes better with cheese than wine, amirite? This family-run inoteca filled with local chiantis was the perfect palette cleanser before our next big meal.
We wandered through the Oltrarno for a bit before stopping off for a meal at L'Raddi, a modern trattoria tucked away in a back street. I totally spaced on taking pictures here, but here we ate beef cheek, potatoes, and the traditional Florentine soup, pappa pomodoro. We also learned about calcio, which is basically the most badass sport I've ever heard of.
After lunch, we continued roaming the streets until we reached Gelateria Della Passera for the most perfect gelato I've ever had. Pro tip: Most local places want you to have two flavors. Ask them which ones marry well together.
After the food tour, we stopped by the nearby Pitti Palace. The exhibit that I wanted to see (the costume one) was closed, but we did manage to check out a bit of the garden and the apartments. Normally we would have been super impressed, but I think we were deep into our food coma at this point.
After a nap, we visited the Duomo museum and got the full history on the building of the dome, the appearance of the old church, and the original brass doors of the baptistery. This museum is highly underrated IMHO. It contains one of Michelangelo's last known works.
We nabbed a reservation at one of the most recommended restaurants -- La Giostra. Besides a bowl of burrata, carafes of wine and heaps of tiramisu, I ordered the renowned pear ravioli. It did not disappoint.
We ended the night by mistakenly walking to Basilica di Santa Croce. It was sort of magical. This day was definitely a hard one to top.