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Italy: 9 Days, 9 Gelatos

September 25, 2010

Yep, that’s a gelato a day (technically we had two in one day since we didn’t get any the night we arrived).  I won’t lie, gelato was a glorious part of the whole experience.  But I guess there was some other cool stuff too.

Florence was… okay.  I see now what people mean when they say it’s a “dead city.”  It was just so full of tourists (and yes, I acknowledge that I am one of them, I just like a good mix of tourists and people who actually live there).  But despite the crowds, we did enjoy some incredible art.  The very long museum lines passed quickly thanks to the sixth Harry Potter book on tape we have on Tiffany’s ipod.  We are that cool.  Michelangelo’s David really was worth all the hype.  Pictures don’t do it justice.  The tendon behind the knee, the bones in the hand, the vein in the forearm; everything is just perfectly executed.

Even if I hadn’t enjoyed the art and architecture, Florence would have all been worth it for this one meal we had.  You will think I am exaggerating or lying when I say this, but I promise you I am not: it was the best meal of my entire life. I know it seems impossible that I could say that with certainty, but I can. Tiffany’s friend had told us to go to this restaurant, and had told us to order the pasta sample, steak sampler, and picked a bottle of wine we should order. We got the pasta sampler, and it was random, just a small dish of whatever they had cooking at the moment.  I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that each was delicious, cooked to the perfect tenderness. Then, since I don’t eat steak, Tiff decided to just get one steak, and I picked some chicken cooked in Port (sweet wine). You guys. This sauce was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. Tiff enjoyed her steak, but she admitted this sauce was incredible. Sweet and savory and buttery, I can’t describe it adequately, so I’ll just say this: I was having an emotional experience eating this chicken. I am not joking when I say that I was near tears, it was that good. I want to evangelize for this sauce, because it makes me sad thinking that there are people in the world who don’t know about this sauce. As I ate, I thought that I might not live much longer since I would never eat again, because why would I put something in my mouth that wasn’t this sauce, now that I had seen the light?

Ok, I’m done, but if you ever go to Florence I will tell you where to eat. Don’t argue with me. Just do it.  On to Rome.  We heard repeatedly that we should get a guided tour for the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel, so finally we decided to cough up the money and do it. It was well worth it, like everyone said. You get so much history. I didn’t know that Michelangelo hadn’t really painted at all before the chapel. That’s incredible! But for sure my favorite in ROme, and possibly of the whole trip, was the church of San Clemente. Many thanks to my sister for suggesting this one, because it was wonderful. The ground level church isn’t anything exceptional, built in the 12th century, but if you go down a level you can walk through the 4th century church it was built on and see some wonderful frescoes. Then go down another level, and there are ancient Pagan ruins! Imagine the most awesome underground maze of rooms and tunnels that your ten-year-old self (or current self) would want to run around in. That’s what this was. No pictures were allowed, so you’ll have to go see it for yourself. At one point you can fill up your water bottle from a 1st century underground spring! It was so much fun.

I won’t bore you with more detailed descriptions of my gastronomical adventures, just imagine a lot of pizza and even more pasta. Ciao!

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