Today we didn’t have to get going until noon, so I decided to have a late breakfast outside of the hotel. I ventured to the Florence train station to Vyta Santa Margherita, an Italian chain of cafes. The food was good, as is most food in Italy, but I was visiting more for the design of the space itself. The floors and walls are a rich green marble contrasted in a surprisingly subtle way by a mirrored copper facade behind the cafe counter, which is also flanked by beautiful seating accented in green velvet. I got a caffe machiatto, a cream croissant, and a mini prosciutto panini.
After breakfast, I returned to the hotel to embark on the group tour of the Accademia Galleria and the Duomo. It was very cool to see the statue of David at the Accademia, which was surprisingly small but full of stunning marble busts and statues. The Duomo was also an amazing visit as the frescoes inside of the dome are breathtaking (see picture). The Duomo was also a special visit as we got to see a bishop.
After the Duomo, I had a late lunch at Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura. This is the restaurant attached to the Gucci Garden that we visited yesterday. Gucci Osteria is a collaboration between Gucci and Massimo Bottura, one of the greatest chefs in the world. Massimo Bottura is the chef at Osteria Francescana in Modena, recognized as the best restaurant in the world in 2016 and the second best restaurant in the world in 2017. Gucci Osteria is Bottura’s first foray outside of Osteria Francescana. I was able to get a table during their walk-in hours between 3:00 pm and 4:30 pm each day. I was told that tables book up two to three weeks in advance otherwise.
The dining room itself is unsurprisingly impeccably designed. Deep hues of light green mix with darker green velvet seating and dark mahogany wood chairs and tables. The hand-painted wooden floor, with a snake pattern no less, is continued from the retail space just on the other side of floor to ceiling glass doors paned in the same light green tone that accents the whole space. Everything down to the napkins, bread plate, and utensils is well curated and coherent in design and proportion. I sat at a table for two right at the entrance to the restaurant, allowing me a nice breeze from the open door as well as a pleasant view of passing Florentinians. I ordered tortellini in an aged Parmigiano Reggiano cream, followed by a limited-offer “Rhubarb Love” desert only available six weeks of the year when the rhubarb is fresh. Both dishes were incredible and well portioned. It was an overall quite pleasant experience.
After lunch, I napped before going out for gelato and pastries with some friends and visiting the Ponte Vecchio.
Tomorrow we are off to Verona, about a three and a half hour drive northeast from Florence. Stay tuned for impressions of the city famous for playing host to the story of Romeo and Juliet.