OUR VISIT TO FLORENCE
This week it was clearly time for me to visit this Tuscan city of Michelangelo, Dante, and leather jackets. And so, my friends and I hopped onto the Eurostar and headed to the sepia city of Firenze.
We didn’t need our tour books for this visit, because one of my favorite teachers made a special list of must-see sights in Florence: museums, palazzi, piazze, even a restaurant.
It was at the restaurant, the Trattoria Sabatino, where we had one of our best experiences of the week. It was a restaurant of locals who checked us out thoroughly when we entered. We were the only Americans in the place. The food was fabulous, of course.
The highlight of the evening came from a young Italian couple who were sitting at the end of our table. We started talking to them after the waiter brought the young man a steak, bistecca alla Fiorentina, easily one pound of grilled meat. We laughed with them about the immense portion.
Gradually, with our pidgin ingl’italiano, we started talking. We learned they were in the Police Academy in Florence. They were very interested in speaking with some Americans about la guerra, especially because on this particular day, Italy had entered the war.
They, like so many other Italians, were sympathetic, expressing their belief that Bin Laden was hiding behind the mask of Islam, that the attack was an act of terrorism against all peoples. It was an enlightening conversation.
At the end of the meal, my friends were so moved by the enthusiasm of our tablemates they paid for their dinner. In gratitude, the couple — Fabrizio and Luanno — drove us to the top of a hill overlooking Florence, where stands a bronze copy of Michelangelo’s David and a stunning view of the whole city.
As they drove us back to the historic center, Luanno told us that it was an evening they would tell their friends about at the Academy graduation ceremony. We all agreed, it was an unforgettable evening of international friendship.