Breaking The Fast In Florence—A Foodie’s Delight
People say March 'goes in like a lion and out like a lamb', but Florence is bucking that trend this week. We’ve had lush spring-like temperatures as everyone gears up for 'Martedì Grasso' or Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday, but the latter has always sounded a little vulgar to me; frankly, I prefer the Italian version.
Yes, today 'Carnevale' festivities come to a close (liturgically, anyway), and there will be loads of revelry all over Italy, but particularly in Viareggio a quick train ride from Florence and of course in Venice. Carnival coming to an end doesn’t mean life slows down any time soon, though. If anything, it picks up.
Some super-fresh news for the start of spring: the recently revamped Piazza dei Ciompi is now hosting a flower market every Friday morning. Some of you may be familiar with the charming green booth that’s been selling them for years—and it’s still there. Just think of this as an amplified version!
A little further out is no less flowery: beginning March 29, Scandicci is once again hosting a “garden of earthly delights,” thousands of tulips and daffodils, specifically. Through a wonderful community program called Wander & Pick, you can pop into the Parco dell’Acciaiolo, pay a small fee and take home two flowers of your choosing. No better way to welcome spring!
Of course, March in Florence is mostly known for being a foodie’s dream come true. Pitti Immagine’s huge Italian food and lifestyle fair 'Taste' takes over the Stazione Leopolda from March 9 to 11 and I fully admit that I am already salivating thinking about the treats up for grabs in the stalls and shop.
It’s a wonderful way to get acquainted with new producers while celebrating every facet of the food and wine industries, from old-school traditions to daring new developments. Shhh: Fuori di Taste, the off-circuit events program, might actually be my favorite part of the whole ordeal. Way less crowded! You’ll find a detailed listing of events in English here.
Sorry if the foodie festivities have made our faithful readers outside Italy a little envious! There are ways to join in on the celebrations from home—namely, by observing the 'Capodanno Fiorentino' (Florentine New Year) on March 25. What is this exactly?
Florentines, wonderfully stubborn, were very slow to adopt the Gregorian calendar, waiting until January 1, 1750, to do so; they continued to mark the beginning of each new year on March 25, Feast Day of the Annunciation.
This was a far cry from most of the rest of Europe and the Italian city-states, who went along with what Pope Gregory XIII proposed in 1582. Festivities to commemorate that unequaled Florentine obstinacy still take place on March 25, primarily at the gorgeous Basilica of Santissima Annunziata.
For those not in town, I suggest using the day as an excuse to cook up something delicious and Tuscan in tribute! It is still cold somewhere so....challenge yourself with our "Ribollita" soup...well if you do not like the challenge...just make a stop at the JT Caffe!!
A “Merry Marzo” to you all.