Friday, January 31, 2014


Before leaving Italy we headed up to Florence (or in Italian, Firenze) to see Maggie's host family from the semester she spent there during college. But first, we went to her favorite cafe where you could get a scoop of gelato in amazingly thick hot chocolate.

Maggie was in Heaven.

We met up with Maggie's host family and they took us to their restaurant, Cantina di Toia, for dinner. They own a beautiful restaurant outside of Firenze that is inside Leonardo DiVinci's Grandparents house, which he possibly grew up in (or at least that's how the story goes). It is a great example of how old things are in Italy, it wasn't Leonardo's house, but his grandparents'. Leo was just a young buck compared to this place.

There, we were lucky enough to have the whole amazing restaurant (and its even more amazing chef, Maggie's host mom Francesca) to ourselves for the evening. We had multiple courses, from delicious meat and cheese and house-made preserves like only Italy can do it, to lemon risotto, to the most tender, delicious Florentine steak. And of course, wine--the restaurant is in an area called Carmignano, known for its wine, and we were lucky enough to sample the wares.
The original fireplace, that once lit, stays warm for two weeks. Take that, modern technology.

Between that and more delicious food at the Raugeis' home and around Florence, they did their best to fatten us up while we were there, and it worked.

Maggie with her host mom, Francesca, and sister, Margherita.

When in Firenze, you can't not see Dave (as Andrew calls him). Of all the amazing things we have seen, the David, for both Maggie and Andrew, is the most impressive work of art ever to grace God's green earth. There's no picture that can do justice to what he looks like in person... so here's a picture.

His best angle, in Andrew's opinion.
We thought we had escaped China without having to eat stomach, but Francesca told us it was a street food delicacy in Firenze, so we gave in (we knew Italy would make much better stomach than China anyway). And it was pretty tasty, we had to admit.

Stomach sandwich--lampredotto, it's called. Sounds much prettier in Italian!

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