Trattoria Gozzi, San Lorenzo, Florence
Yesterday we went to Florence to meet up with some friends. The time we could spend in this beautiful city was limited, so we didn’t do very much other than eat lunch at Trattori Gozzi in Piazza San Lorenzo and visit the Santa Croce church on our way back to the car.
We first discovered Trattoria Gozzi a few years ago when friends took us there after a visit to the Uffizi Gallery. It is family run, ingredients are bought from the nearby food market every morning and is only open at lunchtimes Monday to Saturday. The entrance is unassuming and easily missed, often being hidden behind a clothing stall in the Pizza San Lorenzo. If you plan to eat there, go before 12.30 to ensure that you get a table, it is incredibly popular with locals and, thanks to the internet, more visitors to the city have discovered this restaurant than would otherwise be the case. So many people want to eat there that I don’t think they take bookings – it’s done on a first come, first served basis. The San Lorenzo district is just to the north of the road that runs between the Santa Mari Novella Station and the Duomo so it can easily be reached on foot from anywhere in central Florence.
We arrived at 12.20 and there were still plenty of free tables but within 15 minutes the trattoria was packed, a few tourists whose restaurant research was about to pay off and a lot of locals on their lunch break. The service was efficient and very friendly, within a few minutes of our arrival we had house wine and water on the table and the orders for our food were taken shortly after.
The food was as good as I remembered, for our first course we had passata di verdure soup and pici (thick spaghetti) with a sausage meat and Tuscan black cabbage. Afterwards, we ordered dishes of meat balls (polpette), rabbit and saltimbocca (thinly sliced meat rolled up with herbs and fried with a cocktail stick through the middle to hold it all together). We ordered baked fennel and spinach to accompany this, and we were impressed that the waitress came back to check that we would be happy with another green, cima di rape (turnip tops), as there was no spinach that day. This was, as they almost like to say on Masterchef, genuine Italian food at its finest.
When you are staying at our villas on the Tuscany Umbria border you can either go by train, which conveniently brings you into the centre of the city at Santa Maria Novella, or you can go by car. We live 40 minutes’ drive from the station and therefore chose to go by car – our route took us via Città di Castello, Monterchi, Arezzo and up the A1 autostrada, we exited at Firenze Sud and, once we were on the inner ring road, we parked in the first car park, from the inner ring road, it’s 10-15 minutes’ walk into the centre.