Even after more than 20 years in Florence I still enjoy being a tourist in my town and discover new places that I never noticed or visited before. Thanks to The Tour Guy, formally known as The Roman Guy, I got the chance to taste typical Florentine delicacies accompanied by a good glass of wine. Even though the rain came down like there was no tomorrow, our local guide Elena, who spoke excellent English by the way, waited for us on Piazza della Signoria from where the tour took off.
The Florence Food Tour takes you on a food journey in the area around the Ponte Vecchio and the characteristic Oltrarno neighborhood on the other side of the Arno river.
Our little group of eight followed Elena’s orange umbrella to our first stop where we were served some typical Tuscan appetizers that every tourist should try like crostini with chicken liver, bruschetta with tomato, cold cuts and for the more adventurous eaters Florence’s best-known street food Lampredotto made with the fourth stomach of a cow.
Before crossing the river at the Ponte Vecchio we stopped in an Enoteca for a wine tasting and delicious truffle cheese, where our guide told us all about olive oil and Chianti wine.
A lovely discovery for me was the small bakery near the popular Piazza Santo Spirito where they sell fresh cantucci biscuits to dip on your vinsanto and a chocolate-pear pie that I will come back for one of these days. Somewhere along the way, we discovered one of the many “wine windows” of Florence. These arc-shaped openings can be found on the outer walls of the old patrician houses and were used to sell wine by the bottle.
In the meantime, it was dinner time and the walking had made us hungry again. We sat down for a meal of spicy spaghetti and bistecca Fiorentina (T-bone steak) in a historic tavern. The tour concluded with a delicious artisan gelato from one of the smallest, but one of the best gelato shops of Florence on Piazza della Passera. Make sure you avoid the mounted piles of gelato you see in some windows, that’s factory made ice cream, always go for the gelato that’s low in the containers for the authentic Italian gelato experience.
The Florence Food and Wine Tour by The Tour Guy is a nice introduction to Florentine and Tuscan food where you can discover some typical local delicacies in some of the most characteristic little eateries that are almost impossible to discover on your own. I’ve lived in Florence for a long time and I really enjoyed watching my Canadian group companions taste the food, that is so familiar to me, for the first time.