The Duomo in Siena. 100% excellent Catholic insanity. I didn't take any photos inside but, man, it is great.
Obviously I didn't schedule any posts during my absence. Partially because I was (am) busy and lazy, partially because I am struggling to maintain my enthusiasm for blogging. The blog is dead, long live the (micro) blog? I mean, I think it is fair to say that blogging is over or, at least, that blogging has peaked. The age of the blog has passed. Email newsletters are pretty good. I am still online but it is becoming harder and harder to find the time to blog and follow individual blogs. Feedly, as much as I like it, is no Google Reader. The death of Google Reader killed the blogging star, or was is dead before then? Perhaps it is just my personal apathy. It is a hot night. I hope it is just me. I like the blogging community and I like the space and flexibility blogs. I don't want to blog for the blind sake of it but occasionally there are things I want to write but blogging is about being actively engaged and is there any point in blogging sporadically? I don't know, I don't know. This is no kind of retirement but it has been concerning me.
On a more positive note, some Italian recommendations:
- Oltrarno: I have been to Florence many times but somehow I have never stayed south of the river. This was a hideous mistake! I never want to stay anywhere else. Bloody hell, Florence is packed with tourists in July but the Oltrarno is a (relative) relief. It is quieter, there are silent shaded streets and beautiful piazzas and there are many excellent places to eat.
- Piazza della Passera: This little piazza has everything you could possibly need. 5 e Cinque is a lovely, predominantly vegetarian restaurant with good wine, excellent melanzane alla parmigiana and hummus (!! in Italy, I KNOW). Caffe degli Artigiani does perfectly serviceable tap wine and nibbles for aperetivo in the evening sun, Gelateria della Passera has great ice cream in a decent range of flavours (although, it was particularly noticeable on this trip how generally conservative the ice cream choices are in Florence - delicious but safe. I will try to do a full report for Repeat Scoop but I didn't take photos or notes so it isn't going to be my most accurate offering) for after dinner. You never have to leave...
- Il Santo Bevitore: My favourite restaurant in Florence (not including pizza, man, we had some excellent pizza in Florence). I have come back here on two consecutive trips and I can say that the quality remains excellent. Busy but not raucous, great design, very friendly and helpful staff, excellent wine, excellent food. Book ahead. The cured meat is exemplary, the 'nduja pasta is a menu staple and is hot (spicy) and delicious, there was a slight delay with our bill (that we barely noticed being more than one sheet to the wind) and they gave us complimentary dessert wine. If money was no object I would have come here pretty much every night. As it was, a perfect special treat.
- This rabbit ragu: Not strictly Italian but rabbit is so so available in Italy, in all butchers, supermarkets and restaurants, that I always associate it with the country. R cooked this recipe one night and it knocked my socks off. 10/10, would eat every day.
And now I have cheered myself up. Excellent. Thanks, Italy.