Food, Glorious Food

Click for more images from Florence.
Click for more images from Florence.

We’ve been introduced to a local Tuscan staple called Pappa del Pomodore. A thick blend of fresh tomatoes, basil, and bread, this hearty soup is served with a little olive oil poured on top. We happened onto a lunch place that featured a 10 Euro lunch buffet that included wine. This is an interesting concept to keep costs down while enjoying local varieties.

Later that evening, we discovered a wonderful tratteria near our hotel called Trattoria “I Due G” (Via B. Cennini, 6 – Tel. 055.218.623) that so prided themselves on THEIR pappa that we received a complimentary sample to begin our meal. The highlight, however, was their primo piatto of taglianinni with truffles. Absolutely scrumptious. As is characteristic of tratterias, they offer local wine from a jug, and you pay for what you drink. The local wine is chianti classico, and it was quite affordable.

We earned these culinary delights by being extremely active throughout the day. We began by crossing the Arno to the zone called Otrarno (literally, other side of the Arno). We had attempted to stay on that side due to its more rural atmosphere but accomodations were scarce. The otrarno is also a bit distant from the train station, so our current location is works for us and is only a 20 minute walk to paradise. There is a 2-mile interpretive walk in our guide book, and we enjoyed the sun, the wonderful plants in their best spring glory, and the variety of both nature and whimsical photos we took to commemorate the day. it was in the Otrarno that we enjoyed our buffet lunch and our introduction to Pappa del Pomodoro.

Following a midday siesta, we did some scouting about for our Artemisia Gentileschi marathon. Artimesia is well known in Florence because she was the first woman painter admitted to the Academia of Art in Florence. Her life is well documented in both written and film versions, and we’ve enjoyed learning about her and her colleagues’ life in the early to mid-sixteen hundreds. Along with her father, Orazio Gentileschi, her Florentine contemporaries were Caravaggio, Ludovico Gigoli, and Giovanni Baglione.

Susan Vreeland has studied sevearal painters and written biographical fiction about Vermeer, Emily Carr, and Artemisia. The last two have inspired further study, and the Emily Carr book was the foundation for our visit last fall to British Columbia. Vreeland’s book on Artemisia is proving to be just as fascinating for introducing us to this wonderful painter, her country, and its culture. Our tangential escopades have simply made the first couple of days of our Italy ’06 adventure just that—fascinating.

PS: The photo is detail of Il Duomo, tomorrow’s adventure.