After our tumultuous tour through the Tuscan hills, Cousin and I were left off back in the center of Florence. Our plan for the rest of the day was to sight-see as best we could, then have another delicious Italian dinner. The sun continued to brilliantly shine throughout the day, so after picking up our first Florentine gelato (we had made a pact to eat gelato every single day of our trip), we wandered down the amorous Arno river, traversed the people-packed Ponte Vecchio and circled the dazzling Duomo. When we finally arrived back at our quirky little residence, we both passed out for a well-needed late afternoon nap. Even if we hadn't intended this brief respite, I suspect our Italian landlordress would have demanded her charges take a snooze.
When we finally emerged from our beauty slumber, we realized food was an urgent agenda. Cousin had discovered the name of a restaurant recommended through a blog post she read online. She made a quick call, got us a reservation, and we were off! The name of the restaurant is La Cucina Garga, and we later found out it had been featured by Guy Fieri on the Food Network. The decor was cute, the work of many local artists hanging on the walls, and the tables were decked out in white paper table cloths with a cup of markers making up part of the center piece. Guests are encouraged to create their own masterpiece and apparently true artistic gems could be chosen to hang up on the walls. We shared a beautiful salad, a delectable plate of tagliatelle with orange and mint and brandy sauce, and finally a breaded veal chop. Because we are the infamous Hot Blonde Cousins Abroad, we ended up being the last table at the restaurant, and were therefore approached by the chef himself, who offered us a free vile of Italian vodka each to wash down our delicious desserts. He then invited us to join him and another lingering couple at the bar for post-dinner cocktails. The couple was a hilarious American duo, so we all had a merry time talking about the restaurant, Italy, and all of our crazy antics.
Now, I have to admit that from there, the evening got just a TAD ridiculous, as only our evenings can... The chef invited us to join him at a friend's house for further drinks. This gentleman is an 86-year-old artist simply referred to as 'The Maestro." Without going into too much detail, his apartment was one of those dreamland artists dwellings, fully bedecked in paintings and pieces on every wall, in every room, all absolutely decadent in design. The man himself reminded me of a cross between Hugh Heffner and some sort of Italian Picasso. Needless to say, we all drank out of golden goblets and waltzed through the rooms as if in a trippy Studio 54 museum. It may not have been the best plan in the world to go on such an adventure, but it was truly a once in a lifetime stuff of memories.