Monday, 3 March 2008

Florence Without

Le Stanze Di Santa Croze, Florence

Even the Italians find Florence simply beautiful. Artists sit by the water and paint, historians wander the city and explore, designers take inspiration from the Renaissance architecture. The city is crammed with tourists, but take a short walk down some alleyways and you will find a gorgeous piece of history by the Church of Santa Croce.

This area is full of markets, and little nooks and crannies that lead to all sorts of shops and stops to get your bearings. Take time to write a postcard. The stalls that line the 14th-century Ponte Vecchio have been home to the city's gold and silversmiths for half a millennium. Stop where the shops peter out half way along to seek inspiration from the fine views of the river.

Le Stanze Di Santa Croze has four bedrooms and we spent our two nights in the attic room and shared a shower room on the floor below - which on this occasion I didn't mind because this B&B is gorgeous and very forgiving in it's narrow staircase and low ceiling height. Each of the rooms are named after original famous bells which used to echo through the streets of Florenze.
We stayed here so that we could do the cookery lesson with our host. I let her know in advance that I was Coeliac, and this isn't a problem because not all Italian food is about pasta and bread.

We spent our morning with our host Mariangela at the food markets. We were told about the different vegetables and fruit and what we would be cooking in our lesson. We chose pumpkin and beans and tomatoes, and fish. Then there are other wonderful stalls full of cheese, olives and oil. I felt like I was in a scene from Roman Holiday as we walked through the markets smelling and touching everything.

Then back to our kitchen where we prepared salads and grilled our fish. A fantastic experience and really made Florence a very special place for us.

Click here for the Giv & Take interview -

delicious cakes and bakes from the Sydney kitchen.