Tuscany Day Three: Dinner With Bella in Firenze

Published Date Author: , July 4th, 2012

Ciao, Bella

Pitti PalaceAfter Lucca, we returned home to the B&B for an hour to shower and relax, and then went on to Florence for dinner with Bella.

We caught the bus at the corner, and it was, of course, ten minutes late and packed.

Pitti Palace's PiazzaAfter a slow commute into town, we arrived at Palazzo Pitti, a museum full of lovely murals fronting a garden with fantastic Florence views, and went to the ticket office, which was supposed to close at 6, at about 5:35 PM to get our passes for the Florence Museums.

The biglietteria (ticket office) was, of course, already closed.

But there was a woman still at the sportello (window) so Marco engaged in a five minute argument with her about the closing time, and would you believe it, the window re-opened.

Ponte VecchioWe got our tickets, and were still considering trying the Accademia later in the night to see Michelangelo’s statue of David at night, but there was some sort of terrorist attak down in southern Italy, and all the museums were closed.

Ponte VecchioWe walked across the Ponte Vecchio, watching our wallets and taking photos, and made our way along the Arno up toward i Latini… we still had about an hour to kill before meeting Bella, so we took our time, exploring some of the side streets and shops.

We found ourselves in the upscale shopping district of the city, so we didn’t actually buy anything, but the windows were pretty. 🙂

We also took a side trip up to Santa Maria Novella, a beautiful church close to the train station that shares its name, for a few pictures.

Finally, the moment arrived, and there was Bella, with her fabulous friend Susan in tow… it was so good to see her!

Fabulous SusanWe’d planned this same dinner two years before when we were both going to be in Florence, but had to cancel that trip, so we finally made it, at the same time, to the same place here in this beautiful city.

The thing about Il Latini that you have to know going in is this – they will serve you way too much food.

We never order off the menu here – we just let them bring us selections for four courses. This time, this included:

  • Wine
  • Proscuito and Canteloupe
  • Liver Pate
  • Caprese Salad
  • Bread
  • Ravioli
  • Gnocchi
  • Another Pasta Dish
  • Steak
  • Lamb
  • Rabbit
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Biscotti with a Sweet Wine
  • Chocolate Pie
  • Apple Tort
  • Two Other Desserts I Can’t Name

Dinner with Bella at Il LatiniThe trick here is to skip lunch or have a very light lunch, and then just have sample bites of each thing as you go. If you make the rookie mistake of finishing the early plates, you’ll be stuffed before the meal is half finished.

It was a fantastic meal, made all the more special for us because some of our dearest friends finally met each other. We were a little worried initially because Bella has a hard time with Italian and Marco and Fabry have an equally hard time with English, but everyone spoke slowly, we worked as translators when needed (which was surprisingly rare), and the wine and conversation and good-natured ribbing flowed easily around the table.

After Dinner in FlorenceWe arrived at the restaurant before opening time at 7:30, and spent close to a full three hours together. It was, truly, one of those evenings you don’t want to end.

We left Il Latini and walked Bella and Susan back to their apartment, passing the Duomo on the way – beautiful at night! We bid her goodnight with Italian kisses and a promise to get together back home soon for lunch, took a few more night photos of Firenze, and found a cab to take us back to the B&B, where we collapsed once again into bed.

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