Via Porta Rossa is a strange bridge between Florentine drags. Despite the signage pointing toward Florence’s main monuments, the street’s nondescript starting point from piazza Santa Trinita is oddly alley-like, undoubtedly the corner you’d duck into upon spotting someone you don’t want to see. (Am I wrong?) But what follows is a road rich in variety, history and luxury, taking you past the mayhem of the Porcellino Market toward its tail end.
Ph. Andrea Paoletti
In a casual conversation between the two of us, The Florentine’s “roving reporter” Andrea Paoletti perhaps put it best: the current Elia Volpi exhibition at Palazzo Davanzati is reintroducing the magnificent space to Florentines. Despite his “DOC status,” Paoletti admitted to never having set foot inside until this show, dedicated to the painterly habits of the Museum of the Old Florentine House’s main restorer and founder. But long after the exhibition’s still-to-come conclusion, Palazzo Davanzati demands a visit, considering all it reveals about the upper crust of Renaissance Florence.
A lunch and dinner offshoot of American brunch favorite Rooster Cafè (via Sant’Egidio), Rooster Firenze serves up classics and inventive dishes of stars-and-bars dining, filtered through a Tuscan mindset and a Calabrian chef. The modestly-priced menu features BBQ ribs to rival Memphis’ best and a reinvented macaroni and cheese that could make Kraft weep. With the cost of Rooster’s avocado toast leaving some leftover change for millennial homebuyers, let’s just say the Gallo Nero of Chianti Classico is no longer the lone rooster worth noticing here in town.
Scoot over, schiacciata fiorentina: Prato’s signature sweet has a new second home in Florence. The Biscottificio Antonio Mattei, nicknamed “La Mattonella” by in-the-know Pratesi, has opened a workshop and mini-museum just as the cookie makers celebrate the company’s 160th birthday. Seeing a dedicated space for the iconic blue bags and impossibly crumbly biscotti di Prato on Florentine soil is almost more disorienting than the recent opening of one Naples-staple in front of the Mercato Centrale. Disorienting in the most delicious way, we’d say.