Schiaccata all’uva (uva = grape) is a September twist on the traditional thick bread found in Florence. Usually made only during harvest time, grapes come straight from the vine and into the dough – a two-layered form – that rises up into a fluffy middle and crunchy crust that defines this Florentine snack. The grape version is more sweet and moist, and less “crispy crust” than the normal savory schiaccata. Next September during your travels, pop into a pastry shop and try a bite of this delicious fall treat.
There are so many places to get leather in Florence, but one of my favorites is a shop called NOI. Nino has become a good friend over the years and beyond being a great guy, he has wonderful leather goods and always seems to help my guests find the perfect pieces for them. He is not pushy or in your face, rather helps you find (or create) the right jacket, purse or even shoes. Go find Nino and TELL HIM SALLY SENT YOU for a little discount!
NOI - Via Porta Rossa 65r
sister shop for shoes Goccia - Via Pellicceria 12R (just a few meters from NOI)
Walking around my neighborhood is always an adventure. Santo Spirito is the artistic soul of Florence lying south of the Arno River across the Ponte Vecchio. It is considered one of the few neighborhoods in Florence's city center where the true "Florentines" live. It also has a high concentration of working studios where you can find blacksmiths and carpenters as well as glass specialists and modern artists.
I recently discovered a small studio around the corner from my house. I was walking by when, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a man working amidst a sea of stark white books. He appeared to be creating a tower with the books and was using a vice to clamp them together. I immediately invited myself inside. I wanted to know everything about him and these gorgeous white books.
Lorenzo introduced himself and his lovely wife Simona who was assisting in the studio, and told me the story of his Libri Bianchi. He has been working in this Santo Spirito studio for 12 years taking books and expressing his interpretation of the story giving by life to the pages.
Lorenzo's books flip and fold, pages turn, and lay open in a precise manner which he creates using simple materials like plaster and glue. Sometimes in stacks or using small props to communicate his message, the books are visually stunning and convey something entirely new and different under Lorenzo's influence.
The books he uses are often about oppression or convey a profound truth, which he then takes and creates a visual representation of the truth, as he sees it, with his hands. His hands, he explained, are the most important part of his work - allowing him to exact his representation in the most meaningful way.
Located on the south side of the Arno River in Florence is my favorite neighborhood in town, the Oltrarno a.k.a. Santo Spirito. This is home to my favorite shops and restaurants, including one little hole in the wall called Vinaino Lo Sprone on Via dello Sprone near Piazza della Passera.
When Piero and Riccardo opened the restaurant in 2013, I was living across the street from them upon the 4th floor. The guys would often yell up to me, “Sally, how do you say melanzane in English?!” And I would yell the answer down to them out the window. They have good classic dishes written by hand on paper menus and wine by the liter at decent prices.
The only trick here is that you have to get cozy as they only have about 7 tables total. I love the place to much, I stopped here during my engagement photo shoot.