So nice you eat it thrice, right? All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players, but is everyone game for the fourth and final stomach of a cow?
LOVER Fresh into Florence, while browsing the Mercato Centrale Firenze, you are childishly overcome to try a panino co i’ lampredotto with all the trimmings—salsa verde, salsa piccante, salt and pepper—brimming with positive expectations for your new Italian adventure. Stop at Ditta Eredi Lorenzo Nigro for tender lampredotto, perfectly spiced and hemmed in by just the right amount of crunchy and soft bread roll, dipped in offal broth before being handed over the counter to your outreached hand.
SOLDIER A few months have passed and you are taking Florentine life in your stride. Ambitious to seek honour from your peers, you stop at a tripperia near the Ponte Vecchio one lunchtime, with little time to spare and a firm belief in your tastes and stomach. A lampredotto roll just like the last one, but this time the meat is slimy and pale and the bread oversaturated, leaving the sandwich inedible. The cow’s other three stomachs are fixed in your mind as you grimace and chuck the panino in the bin. You thought you were ready, but this is the city’s way of telling you, “There’s still some way to go, soldier. You don’t belong yet.”
JUDGE Months go by and offal barely crosses your mind. An occasion arises for which you find yourself hunting down a lampredotto spot, different from the previous, that will fill your stomach quickly at lunchtime. Due to an untimely closure for ferie of one tripperia, you head to one of the oldest in the city, L’ Antico Trippaio, using your previously gained knowledge to choose well. The blushing pink meat is soft and flavoursome and the sandwich does its centuries-old job: to fill the stomachs of the busy working people of Florence. Like Shakespeare’s fifth stage of life, Justice, you are ready to impart advice on tripe-based decisions.
Illustrations by Leo Cardini