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A weekend all about TASTE in Florence

Imagine sipping wine out of a steel cup, watching tempura being made in the back of an old workshop located in the hills above Florence. Or walking up flight and flight of stairs, around corners and hallways until you think someone has played a joke on you and then finally as soon as you almost lose hope, you arrive at a sunny, window filled artist’s studio with stunning 360 views over the city.

View from the studio of Marina Calamai (artist famous for works based on having a sweet tooth)

This was two weekend’s ago during the foodie heaven that is TASTE. A famous annual food fair at Stazione Leopolda featuring the latest and greatest in the world of culinary masterminds. But guess what, I didn’t go to Taste {shock – gasp – truth} but instead opted for the side events called Fuoriditaste which were all over the city, some open to the public, some requiring invitations or reservations. My decision to not go to Taste was not on purpose, but rather it was a busy weekend and I just couldn’t make it. To be honest, I sort of felt like I was there through all of the tweets and photos from the event #taste2014.

Instead on Saturday afternoon, I headed with some fellow bloggers to check out a famous silversmith shop located near Piazzale Michelangelo, the incredible Pampaloni, open since 1902. Not only are their products a perfect mix of style and innovation – their taste is unique which shows in their incredible collection of vases, egg cups, silverware and more (with a very expensive price-tag). Plus how can you not love these wine bottles on display in their shop.. 

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Walking inside their workshop was like walking through a film set, tools scattered everywhere amongst the silver items they produce. Satire is also something they are famous for, from the Pope in an egg to plenty of political signs poking fun of Renzi or various famous figures in Italy and around the world.

We walked in and grabbed our steel cups of wine and started to wander, all while stuffing ourselves with delicious tempura made by their expert chef in the back of the workshop. Fried pumpkin, zucchini and banana, everything was melt in your mouth delicious, as soon as more appeared, it disappeared from hungry patrons.

We wandered upstairs to the canteen/restaurant called “In Fabbrica” (you can guess why). Because of the economic crises and people having less money to spend, they decided to add a restaurant to their mix. In the workshop by day, they work as waiters by night – serving meals in this charming space where the head chef is Japanese.

From chatting with one of the guys, you can tell that the people who work here are a family, everyone’s best interests at heart, almost a warmhearted rarity these days in a modern world where competition is rife. A refreshing concept even if forced upon by economic necessity.

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Now that I discovered this place, I am determined to organize a dinner here and try it out for myself — thankfully fuoriditaste introduced this unique place to me, it’s absolutely not the kind of restaurant you could spot from the street.

“In Fabbrica’ restaurant”, Via del Gelsomino, 99, 50125 Firenze, Italy

For reservations call +39 347 5145468
From Wednesday to Saturday, from 8pm.

After this amazing night, the next day I took a break from working (yes it happens on the weekends too) to check out another fuoriditaste event located just down the road from my house on via di santo spirito. Basically a foodie block party called SANTOSPIRITOVIVA-NDE a joke meaning Santo Spirito comes alive thanks to food. The entire street was used to create this event that involved workshops ,designer ateliers, stores, in addition to Art and Antiques galleries.

These intimidating small shops are ones that I normally just walk by, but these two days they opened their doors to the public and offering up free wine and drinks. Grazie!

Yep, these kinds of events actually happen in Florence, Italy –  a city that trusts its public with glass after glass of free {good} wine that they don’t expect to land on any of their expensive furniture or merchandise. We started at the end of the street closest to ponte carraia and worked our way down. A walk  that usually takes five minutes, on this day took two hours and what a two hours they were…

I really appreciated the opportunity to finally walk into some of these shops that I have only previously seen via window shopping plus a chance to chat with the owners. Plus, just like anywhere in Florence at these sort of things I always end up running into a million people I know (small town syndrome). No-one is going to turn down free food and wine and chance to browse cool stuff, one store even had a bowl full of fresh bufala mozzarella, impressive!

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  1. Sophie

    What an amazing opportunity! I totally also have a set of restaurants and food shops that I feel too intimidated to walk into … Like they’re so small that surely they’re a top-secret exclusive club that I don’t belong to? haha :p Anyway, sounds like an Italian dream – free food and wine, beautiful artsy ambiance, and a sense of comraderie/family. Great read, thanks for sharing!

    • ggnitaly84

      Ciao Sophie, that’s exactly what me and my boyfriend were saying. Many of these stores just seem so far off from my reality but that doesn’t mean I’m not curious about them. It’s just hard to imagine to be able to afford anything on an average Italian salary ;-). But I did absolutely find some gems that day and give some cool recommendations for anyone who actually makes money! plus the wine and food was amaZING. top quality all around..

      ps. thank YOU for reading :)

  2. bakeritalia

    Wow how wonderful! I went to TASTE and it was full on! I tastes truffled beef…crazy! And ate way too much fabulous cheese, cured meats and drank a lot of yummy beer. Such a fun weekend all round!

  3. Terrill Welch

    What a sensory delight! I will be in Florence for my first later in April this year and look forward to poking around and exploring. Your post is part of my preparations ;)

    • GirlinFlorence

      Ciao Terrill, I’m happy you enjoyed it :). It was a sensory delight for both the palate and visually. Seeing that 360 view from the artist’s studio was truly incredible. April is a great time to be in Italy, I am sure you will love it!


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