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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Florence Eateries: Favorite Finds

In the June 2005 issue of Dream of Italy -- our special report on Florence -- Barrie Kerper writes about the unique objects (pale -- Wonder what that is? Read the newsletter and find out!) she finds hanging in select places in Firenze, including the following restaurant. Here she tells us a bit more about the cantinetta and her other favorite Florentine eateries...

The Cantinetta dei Verrazzano is the kind of place I’ve long dreamed about only I didn’t quite know it, or rather, I didn’t know such a wonderful place really existed. I really enjoy reading about restaurants and trattorie, wine bars and pizzerias, and I often plan a day’s itinerary around the locations of places to eat and drink. And I don’t just frequent places that are famous or hold Michelin stars; in fact, I would consider a trip a failure if it didn’t include a variety of eating establishments.

That’s why, when I visit Florence, I always stop at least once at I Fratellini, a sliver of a place that is more like a booth built into the side of the wall at via dei Cimatori 38r. Patrons simply select from the menu of crostini and panini and order a glass of Chianti of the same name and stand in the street and eat. What’s particularly Italian about it all is not only that the sandwiches and snacks are really delicious, but that there are little shelves carved out into the wall where you put your wine glass when you’ve finished. You simply cannot have this experience anywhere in puritanical America, and it should be noted that there are always children around, watching adults have a sensible glass of wine taken with food.

I have also very much enjoyed Trattoria Garga (via del Moro) , Cibreo (via dei Macci 118r) and Caffe Rivoire (piazza della Signoria 5), but my most favorite place, one I can return to various times in one trip, is Cantinetta dei Verrazzano (via dei Tavolini 18/20 r, 055.268.590). -- B.K.

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