- Category: Experts
- Author: LaCure Villas
Sing the Praises of Florence
Walking on the same street as the statue of Michelangelo’s David. Under the shadow of the fabulous Duomo. Near to the art treasures of the Medicis. Steps to fabulous restaurants, stores and the best that central Florence has to offer. Yet just off the beaten path enough to avoid the crowds.
This is what Apartment Opera offers, close to Piazza della Repubblica in a historical palace. Ideal for a romantic getaway for two, the apartment features a winning combination of classic and contemporary design, with whitewashed wooden ceilings, a furnished terrace overlooking the courtyard and a comfortable living room in which a fireplace is framed by two bookshelves. A modern kitchen, studio and a stylish bathroom with rain shower and Jacuzzi tub round out the appeal.
An ideal alternative to the hotel, the apartment features lots of room to spread out. And the friendly front desk is not shy about recommending restaurants and things to do about town. You probably don’t need to be told to see lots of art. Besides enjoying the original David on display at the Accademia Gallery, you should make your way to the Uffizi Gallery, among the oldest and most famous art museums of Europe.
Construction of the building started in 1560 for Cosimo I de’ Medici, to accommodate the offices of the Florentine magistrates (hence the name “uffizi” or “offices”). Over the years, parts of the palace evolved into a display place for many of the paintings and sculpture collected by the House of Medici or commissioned by them. Today the Uffizi is one of the most popular attractions in Florence. While group tours are good, you can get the most from the experience with a private one, taking you through your own journey through the fabulous art treasures and their storied history.
But some of the best art to consume in Florence is its famous cuisine. In the Apartment Opera neighborhood you should definitely check out Il Cibrèo, whose seasonal menu takes its inspiration from fresh local ingredients. As the restaurant’s site says, “We avail ourselves of fishermen from the Tuscan sea, of farmers from nearby Florence and their tender green ‘radicchini,’ and of hundreds of other suppliers that are constantly in touch with us.”
Chef Fabio Picchi’s cooking is divine and charmingly eccentric, without steaks or pasta on the menu. Even so all dishes are delicious, based on traditional Florentine recipes, drawing on the best of what is available each morning at the nearby Sant’Ambrogio market.
If they are on the menu that night, some dishes worth trying are passata di pesce piccante (spicy fish thick soup), piccione arrosto farcito di mostarda di frutta (roast pigeon stuffed with fruit confit), or the restaurant’s namesake dish, cibrèo, a incredibly rich liver on toasted bread
Also owned by the Picchi family, the Trattoria Cibrèo is around the corner and offers a cheaper more limited version of the same menu (from the same kitchen), but doesn’t take reservations. The Picchi family also runs the nearby Caffè Cibrèo and a performance dinner theatre space called Il Teatro del Sale.
With Apartment Opera, you’ll learn to sing the praises of all Florence’s most seductive attractions.