Tuesday 30 Nov, 2010

My favorite lunch in Florence

Florence lunch

In late December, I am leading a London, Paris, Florence and Rome tour, which means a very welcome return to Florence. I love Florence, wonderful city, love taking groups there. Our groups visit Leonardo’s Leather Works and Walter’s Silver Emporium as part of the guided city tour, to get an insight into some local crafts and productions. These guys are family friends (Walter made our wedding rings), so it will be good to catch up. But, above all, going back to Florence means lunch.

I am now going to break a general rule and suggest a place to eat by name. I avoid doing this, generally, because I never want to be responsible for someone having a bad lunch. I will make an exception in the case of Trattoria le Mossacce. It was my wife who first put me on to the place, and I have subsequently taken many teachers and friends to eat there.

The restaurant is located on via del Proconsolo, very close to the city center. Top tip is to get there as soon as possible after they open, normally just after noon. As you enter, you will want to turn around thinking the place is full. There is one table, and that will be taken by four men, aged anywhere between 80 and 81, playing cards, drinking coffee or eating, depending on the time of day. The small bar is to your right, and they will welcome you happily and lead you to the main room in the back. Here, you find about eight tables. You might get one to yourselves, but more likely you’ll find yourself sharing with locals. There is a menu, but I always advise going with the specialities of the day. Order by looking and pointing if you’re not sure. Take a close interest in what others are eating; it‘s the Italian way.

Everything that happens after this is generally fantastic. They do superb pastas, great vegetable dishes, amazing meats and superb local Tuscan dishes such as this or this as well as this. To top it all off, they even have a great range of desserts. Wine, if applicable, is paid for by honor system. They plonk a bottle on the table, and you have as much as you like, paying only for what you had.

You should take your time. Florence is full of places where you can race in for 30 minutes, scarf it down and run off to the next site. Il Mossace deserves a little bit more time. However, if I turn up and the place is packed with happy EF travelers, then you had better shove up and make some space—or I might never share info like this again.

(Editor’s note: Paul Mattesini’s posts appear Tuesdays on Following the Equator. If you have a travel question for our resident expert tour director, or an idea for a blog post topic, you can email Paul here, and he will answer readers’ questions in future posts.)

Photo: © Adele Cioni via Flickr