When you tell people in Italy that you’re going to Florence for a weekend, the immediate response is generally “you must see the Duomo.” In every Italian city, there is a Duomo, which is basically the largest and most important church in the city. We took our trip to Florence the second weekend into our trip, and frankly, I was pretty much already over churches. I knew the Duomo was extremely important to the history and culture of Florence, though, so I felt this strange obligation to wait in line to see the inside. I have to say, I was more impressed by the outside of the Duomo because the architecture was so unique, but the inside was beautiful and held so much history that anyone would be fascinated by its story. I think I only took a video of the Duomo di Firenze, but if you’re interested in seeing pictures, there are about a million online!
After our visit to the Duomo, Nik and I made sure to hit some things that we had both been excited about seeing in Florence for awhile. I think that it’s important to see the known things in cities but that it is equally important to do research on some exciting, less crowded things. The two most memorable things for me on our weekend trip were the Ferragamo Museum and the mystery sandwich that I was tricked into eating (still not happy about it).
When I realized that both the Gucci Museum and the Ferragamo Museum were in Florence, I knew exactly how I’d be spending my weekend. Unfortunately, we only had time for one, so we both decided on the Ferragamo Museum because, well, its Ferragamo. The museum was completely empty, so we could sit and stare at shoes for as long as we wanted with no judgement. There were no pictures allowed in the museum, so I made sure to bring my notebook to draw my favorites from the massive wall of Ferragamo shoes at the entrance to the museum. I knew some basic information about Ferragamo before visiting the museum, but I had no idea how intimate he made the shoe designing process for celebrities that he fit for his designs. Unfortunately, the museum ended up being more about where Ferragamo lived and his personal life rather than about his shoe making process and his designs, but I still loved learning about his life and what made him such an icon. The museum is located in the Palazzo Spini Ferroni in Florence, which is actually where the company’s headquarters has been since 1938! The history was beautiful. My favorite parts of the museum were the walls of shoes at the beginning of the museum and the collection of lasts that Ferragamo created for various celebrities including Marylyn Monroe and (my personal favorite because of its size) the royal baby! Each person signed their last, so it was fun to try to read the signatures to see who got custom shoes from Ferragamo.
When I went with Nik and our friend Mark to a restaurant back in Rome, Nik and I ordered the veal tripe without knowing what it was. I remember Nik saying, “it’s just veal, you’ll love it I promise!” Mark is a culinary arts major, and he told us he wouldn’t remind us of what it was until we ate it. I thought it couldn’t be worse than eating a whole squid, which I had already done there, so i just shrugged it off thinking it was no big deal. I was wrong. Little did I know, veal tripe is baby cow stomach. Lucky for me, I spit out the first bite because I though it was so gross. Nik was chowing down only to find out it was stomach later. He didn’t mind it as much as I did, but jokes on him for ordering that for me! Ugh! Well, what I’m getting to is that basically the same thing happened in Florence, and the joke’s on me now because I let myself get tricked into it twice. Nik had been telling me since before we got to Italy that Florence is known for a special type of sandwich that the peasants used to eat on the streets. It’s one of the first street foods, and since we’re food truck junkies in America, we thought we should try it for fun. Yeah, no it wasn’t fun. Nik knew I hated tripe but wanted me to try the sandwich, so we ordered two and watched on as the cut the meat for the sandwich in front of us. When I bit into the sandwich, I was alarmed by the texture, but I kept eating to try to get into it. I finally asked what it was, and when him and Mark casually told me it was tripe, I was not happy. The sandwich was actually just tripe in a vegetable broth with a sauce. I know that it is a very popular food that people love in Florence, but it is just not for me. If it is for you, then I recommend Lampredottaio, which is famous among locals for having the best tripe sandwich. Ew. Anyways, that’s where we went, and I could tell it would be amazing if I was into it, which everyone else was besides me. Always remember to ask what you’re eating first!!! Oh well, I’d rather go back to eating full squids 🙂