I, like many other people, spent a semester abroad in Florence, Italy. It changed me. What can I say? I was one of those annoying girls who corrected their aunts pronunciation of bruschetta upon returning home, as if I, really did, absorb the entirety of the Italian language and culture during my three months away from home.
I go back now and the city is much the same. Though I realise that I am very different. For starters, I don’t feel excited at the prospect of waltzing around the cobblestone streets of the city in gold, glittery stilettos like I did then at all hours of the night. Now, I’m very happy to work around the city in normal people hours and wear very comfortable (but still very cute) shoes.
Another thing that has changed is the places that I go. Now, the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, Piazzale Michaelangelo… those are places for everyone. But the cute restaurants and hotels that I was far too grungy and young to wander into as a 19 year old student now draw me in like a moth to a flame. Gold-gilded cafes with doormen and fresh flowers? Say no more. I’m on my way!
One of the places for me is Caffe Gilli- as a student I was terrified of the rumours I had heard of their “incredibly expensive coffee,” but as a well-traveled adult… well, I just saunter in and head straight to the bar to order one. (Also, because now as an adult, I know that an expresso basically anywhere isn’t going to bankrupt me. I’ve yet to see one over €6 anywhere in the world.) The restaurant is over 270 years, and is not only pretty- but a historical landmark perched in Florence’s prestigious Piazza della Republlcca. Just look for the famous carousel in Florence, then you’ll find Caffe Gilli beside it.
And why stop at a coffee when it’s warm out and you can get a crema caffe. Imagine if you will, a tiny, espresso sized cup of an espresso flavouried Frosty. It’s the smoothest drink that is frozen… and there aren’t any ice scales or chips to be found in it. Most often, they’ll also drizzle some dark chocolate around the inside of the glass before it’s poured in. Italy, you do me right. Everytime. It’s a perfect little treat on a hot day. Oh, and they’re cheap. So go on into the prettiest place you can find. If they have the crema caffe machine, lucky you. If not, grab a regular espresso and drink it like the well-groomed adult you are.
Find more of my favourite places in Florence here in my Florence guide.
*images original to Aspiring Kennedy by Grant Schol