Haley’s Adventures: Food and art of Florence

One of our best dinners was fried eggs with roasted potatoes and freshly shaved truffles.

Rehoboth Beach restaurateur Matt Haley traveled extensively through Tibet, Nepal, India, Italy and other parts of Europe in late 2010.  A number of his blogs were posted before the holiday break.  Now we’re resuming with publication of a couple final blogs from that trip. This first blog about Florence in Italy was mailed into the Gazette on Nov. 26, 2010.

Florence

We decide to drive through Perugia and stop for the night on the way to Florence but get our first bad vibe of a city in Italy. Perugia doesn’t feel right so it’s off to Florence.

After arriving in Florence after a long beautiful day’s ride I need sleep, but first food, and I want a Tuscan steak. Off the Piazza de Rebublica square there is a place called Buca Lipi that is famous for serving fat T-bone steaks rubbed with garlic, salt and parsley after hand-cutting it and roasting it over a wood fire. I got this steak with a simple salad and a side of truffles white beans followed by a Jewish apple cake. Please eat here when in Florence.

Tripe stew and chicken liver frosting in Florence. Lunch staples and favorites everyday.

Florence (like Rome and other Italian cities) is beautiful but very expensive so I suggest bottled water, buying meats and cheeses and some fruit for walking around so you have enough money for dinner. If you do stop for lunch, you have to have tripe stew and chicken liver crostini at a local trattoria.

The unassuming Academie’ was very exciting even though hard to find in a way because in Florence, where they may house the greatest art on earth, they also have decided to build unpretentious museums. I think they want and believe the focus should be on the inside, not out.

Once in, I was excited to see Michaelangelo’s famous piece, what some say is the greatest work of art of all. I got myself ready for a journey through the museum to find the piece like I did when it took an hour to walk through the Vatican to see the Sistine Chapel.

One turn, I lifted my head and Bam! There he was.

It was rainy and early so apparently a lot of people had not come out and the museum was empty.

I was alone with “The David,” the greatest work of all time. He stood down an empty hallway 40 feet away, staring me in the eyes. Within seconds I was so overwhelmed I broke into tears and my legs began to shake.  I moved closer, sat and did not move for an hour.  It was the most spiritual art experience of my life. To me this masterpiece was exactly like what was quoted by a great artist and critic of that day: “the last piece you will ever need to see.”

Piazza art and sculpture. Due to restrictions and security no photos are aloud inside museums in Florence.

Driving through the Italian Alps to Florence.

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