As someone who believes in stumbling upon great places, I decided to ditch the guide books/blogs/local advice, and plunged straight into Florence.
Stepping out of the magnificent Santa Maria Novella Railway Station…
I wended my way through the crowded streets of the city…asking for directions to The Gallery Hotel Art. (Cool and comfortable hotel in the heart of the city: highly recommended!)
Along the way, hunger pangs hit. Hard. And since I was in Italy, the fragrance of herbs and the aroma of baked bread was everywhere. Honestly, I could hardly wait to drop my bags at the hotel and get back on the streets for a bite.
Strung along a pipe-thin lane, I spotted a string of eateries that promised big meals at incredible deals. Smiling restaurant staff stood outside their outlets, handing out colourful pamphlets that promised a free drink with pizza and seemingly endless menus.
Photo: thepodanys.blogspot.com Used here for representational purposes only
And regretted it minutes later. The pizza was cold and leathery, with about 3 olives that tasted as if they had been glued atop the bread a month ago. Sure, it cost me “just 4 euros” for pizza and coke, but I would rather have spent a few bucks more to get a better bite.
I am sure the giant plastic chef standing outside the restaurant, holding that huge menu card, giggled a little when I walked in.
Editor, Travel Secrets magazine