Blog Photo Post, Fascade, S. Maria Novella, Florence, Italy

Lunch In Firenze

Our second morning in Florence a few years ago we visited the Mercato Centrale, a totally amazing place. The sight of the fabulous fruits and veggies on offer; it’s a cooks heaven! The selection of fish, meats, fresh pastas and breads was outstanding. There was a stall devoted to nothing but selling offal! The Mercato made our Granville Island look like a corner store!

Next stop, the Academia di Belle Arte Firenze to see David. There was hardly any line-up, only about a 10 minute wait, a miracle. Not like the huge line up at the Uffizi! The Academia was not crowded and as we headed through the gallery towards the untimate goal at the far end (David), were absolutely blown away by Michelangelo’s four unfinished marbles that were commissioned for a tomb. They were, in our opinion, breathtaking, as if the carved figures were trying to claw their way out of the large pieces of marble, staggering.

Still haven’t made it to the Uffizi!

We needed to find a place to have lunch. We always need to find a place to have lunch!

We “needed” to find a little place called Osteria de Pazzi. So we are off on the hunt.  Now, I don’t know about you, but even with a map clutched in our little paws, we seem to get lost, especially in Italy. I think it’s the way the addresses are done. The residential and business addresses are in no way related to each other even if they are next door to each other! We have since bought a GPS to walk around with!

Finally, we stroll past this place and think this must be it. It was!

The first thing the wait person did when we are seated, is to hand us “tourist menus”. We say NO GRAZIE to these! Bring the regular menus. I am pretty good at reading Italian menus. Those Italian classes must be paying off! We have a little consultation with our friendly waiter and make our choices. Something we like to do is share, that way we can taste more things.

Antipasto: crostini with fresh goat cheese and tapenade for our antipasti. I hate anchovies, so even if there were some in the tapenade they were well disguised!
Primo: casalinga specialita spaghetti, “house special spaghetti”. A tomato sauce with lightly browned slices of garlic, chili flakes, EVO served with parsley scattered on top. The spaghetti was quite al dente and absolutely delicious. Considering how simple it was. Our waiter said that it was not traditional to have the spaghetti with Parmigiano, so not wanting to appear unwilling to go along with custom, had it that way too. Yum, Yum.
Secondo: rare cooked grilled beef, served with raw, fresh artichokes, very thinly sliced, topped with shaved Parmigiano, wild arugula and drizzled with plenty of EVO. A terrific combination, especially as it was artichoke season, seemed the right thing to have!
Dolce: strawberries from Sicily, awesome! To drink we had a good house red.

Part of the entertainment was the singing of both the waiter and the Osteria owner. Lunch was delicious, so fun, so relaxing, we could have sat there all afternoon. Oh well, had to tear ourselves away and go up to Fiesole for a view of Florence!

Because we were so enthusiastic about the food, I think, the waiter gave me the recipe for the pasta. You can find it by going to Osteria Pazzo Spaghetti With Tomato Sauce.

This  is a view from our apartment window across to the Santa Maria Novella church with the piazza below. Every night when we returned we would throw open the windows, pour a glass of vino and look at the sun going down. Sigh.


  1. I love Mercato Centrale as well – returning to Florence on Friday and it’s on my list. I’ll also look for your Osteria! Will be thinking of you & wishing you were there to savor it all with me!

    • There is no question that I will be there with you in spirit Victoria! Pazzi is also a favourite of Judy Witts Francini, so some pretty good recommendations. I know you will love your time there! Fingers crossed for a hook-up with you in the fall! With the second level at the Mercato…it’s even more fabulous!

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