We arrived in Florence with very high expectations. Everyone from friends back home to hotel owners and waitresses we have met on the way have told us that we were going to love the place...
And I did. I loved it. I can’t really tell you why though, but I did. I just loved being there. Despite being quite busy and more tourists than I would have liked (I lived in Oxford, I’ve had my fill), it was just a beautiful place to be. It felt relaxed, no pressure.
We only had the day, so we didn't want to be standing in line or shuffling around museums for most of it, we just wanted to enjoy being in the city, so we went with no real plans of what to see. The only thing that was on my to do list was to see 'David' and of course the only day the Accademia is closed is a Monday, alas next time! But we did find the Il Duomo di Firenze and the Palazzo Vecchio Tower. We crossed the Ponte Vecchio. We ate gelato, we drank wine,
Across the Arno lies the Piazza Michelangelo, which promises beautiful views over the city, although at the price of a steep hill and a lot of stairs ...
It was worth the blister. The views were breath taking and Florence wore the sunshine well.
But I had found, through another travel blog, that only a little further up is the church, abbey and cemetery of San Miniato. Just far enough for the crowds not to bother with it, but according to them the views were unparalleled ...
It was worth the second blister.
A bus ride (yes ladies and gents, I got Demos on a real live bus, with other people and everything!) to our home for the night and a quick change later we drove ten minutes north to a restaurant our host had recommended to us, and I’m afraid I am going to have to beg your forgiveness again, because I must talk about the food.
We’ve eaten some incredible food on this trip. We are blessed with the ability to always choose the best thing on the menu, I, through much experience, have found that you can not go wrong with asking the waiters opinion, and Dem is a natural. But tonight was by far the best of this holiday, and possibly my life. I know how big a statement that is, trust me I do not make it lightly. We are total foodies. We live in London, the best city in the world and currently the culinary capital of the world, and have both travelled quite a lot, we have been fortunate enough to have eaten Michelin starred food, as well as having family and friends that create truly magical dishes, but this was just something else.
To get to La Riggia you have to park in the small town, on a hill, in the outskirts of Florence, and then scale the 100m, practically vertical, walk up to the restaurant.
You can not do it in heels. Trust me.
We were met with bubbles on a perfect terrace, seated at a table facing the twinkling town of Florence below and watched the sunset as we were asked to sample some of the local cheese and salami with fig marmalade. Taste bud explosion.
The owner came to thank us for coming, and gave his opinions on the menu, you couldn’t meet such a humble and lovely man.
I had the mushroom risotto to start, which was soft, buttery, oozy perfection. It was so good I wanted to cry. Dem had fresh pasta with more black truffle shaved over it than I had ever seen in my life. The wine was from Florence and beautiful.
Then we had beef with rosemary potatoes, Dem said it was the best steak he had ever eaten, and this boy has eaten a lot of steaks.
I took the waiters recommendation for dessert, although I was too full really, I couldn’t resist trying what I knew would potentially be my favourite dessert in history. It was. Dem had the creme caramel, which was as equally incredible.
They brought us dessert wine because they said we looked so happy. You couldn’t not be happy in that place. If I had a restaurant that is what I would want it to be like, and I think that is the highest compliment I can bestow. It was posh but not pretentious, classic but modern, relaxed but dignified. It was perfect.
We left sad in the knowledge that La Riggia is so far away from where we live.