Our first night in Florence, there was a pre-arranged dinner so that we could meet all of the other folks on the Taste of Tuscany Tour. We took about a 10 minute walk through town and ended up in the Piazza del Duomo, just in front of the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, which was beautifully lit that evening. The following afternoon, Joe and I would climb the 414 steps to the top of the Duomo for an amazing view of Florence and witness the interior of the dome, an engineering feat way back in 1436 and even today, created by Filippo Brunelleschi. It was literally breathtaking.
The welcome dinner where we were to meet our 35 fellow travelers was held at Buca San Giovanni. The location was good and the decor was what I had envisioned … beautiful, curved ceilings … like you are in the wine cellar in some old Villa …
Wine is always a good place to start and Buca San Giovanni, unlike at least one of the other group dining experiences Joe and I had on our tour, kept it coming … yes, that is always a very good thing! The wine was quickly joined by the Antipasti … crostini with three pâtés: olive, mushroom and liver.
Next up, this hearty Tuscan bean soup for the primi. This was our second serving of soup this day, but hey … it was good stuff. And surprisingly because of what a staple it is in Italy, this is the only time I actually ate this dish … yet another that my Giuseppe and I are going to have to try to create on our own.
Secondi was a filet of beef. It was cooked a little rare for some of my fellow travelers and several of the dishes went back to the kitchen for some extra cook time. I ate the more well done parts of both of our plates and Joe at the rarer portions. The filet was served on a bed of fresh spinach and topped off with with fresh shaved parmesan and a little olive oil.
This was a really nice meal for the group travelers and I do think it is challenging for a restaurant to seat and serve this many folks at once. The under-cooked beef issue was more to do with the mostly American taste buds on the trip than to do with the restaurant’s kitchen staff. The rest of the tour group meals were not so great and Joe and I ventured off on our own most of the time. And check back because me and my Giuseppe had some amazing experiences with the help of Lady Luck and TripAdvisor.com and the lovely Italians that we met along the way.
All good things must end and nothing finishes off a meal better than a bite of sweetness!
There were happy tummies and happy travelers! And I was so happy to meet Gail who lives right here in Franklin! Viaggia felice!