As a part of our family tradition of going on a trip for our sixteenth birthdays, my family landed in Florence, Italy for Sammi‘s 16th, which also fell on the day after my high school graduation. I could already tell it was going to be one of my favorite stops on the trip (out of Rome, Venice and Siena). It didn’t take much more than sunshine, art and delicious food.
Following the advice of the always-wise Rick Steves, whose guidebook was like the Bible for our trip, we went in search of a place called Trattoria Mario for lunch. Rick had yet to lead us astray, pointing us to my favorite hotel of the trip, Hotel Loggiato dei Serviti, across from the Ospedale degli Innocenti.
Finding it proved to be somewhat difficult, since we didn’t speak any Italian and it was off the beaten tourist path. But once we found it, we knew we were in the right place if we wanted a great meal.
The small family-run joint is only open for lunch, and usually closed for the off-season, and customers enjoy their food at shared tables. The pasta bolognese was the best I’ve ever had.
The family was very friendly to picky American tourists and Elena, wife to the late Mario and mother and boss to Romeo and Fabio, was nice enough to pose for a picture with us.
If you go, don’t be afraid to rub elbows with strangers. You never know who you might meet.
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