by Melinda Gallo

Le Carceri

Tonight I went with a few Florentine friends to Le Carceri for dinner. Supposedly the giocatori della Fiorentina (players on the Florentine soccer team) go there. The locale (restaurant/place) is located in an ex-prison just off of via dell'Agnolo.

We arrived at almost 10PM, which is still late for me to eat. I had to have a snack around 8PM to be able to wait that long for dinner. It would've been easier had I been able to get an aperitivo (aperitif) somewhere beforehand, but instead I had to eat a few biscottini (cookies) at home.

My friend's friends reserved a table on the terrazza (terrace), which was spectacular. Now that the weather has warmed up a bit, it's wonderful to find locali that have outdoor seating.

I saw people at another table getting a bistecca alla Fiorentina (Florentine beefsteak) and mi ha fatto gola (tempted me). Luckily, my friend was up for sharing one since it's served for two people. The price on the menu is listed by the kilo, so you know it's going to be big.

We had a big discussion about eating pasta for dinner. The two guys and I weren't going to eat any because we said it's too fattening at dinner. We three were going to order antipasto (appetizer) and a secondo (main dish). The other two girls were a little disappointed, and then became upset a little at us because we ended up ordering a dolce (dessert).

It was the first time for me to go out to dinner with my friend's friends. They asked me a million questions about where I came from. They couldn't believe that someone from California would want to come to Florence to live.

It might be a case of the grass being greener, but I did explain to them that I have lived out of my country since I was twenty and I feel more at home in Europe. And even more so in Florence. It's not that there is anything wrong with my country, it's just I like to live here instead.

The meal was delicious and the ambiente (atmosphere) was nice. The locale is in an internal piazza and the buildings all around were previously prison cells, so there are still bars on all the windows. They have converted the buildings into apartments recently and they seem really nice although no one had their lights one we se couldn't see inside any of them.

I'd go back again for dinner some time because we ate well and we liked the ambiente quite a lot. Unfortunately we didn't see any of the giocatori della Fiorentina, but I probably wouldn't have recognized any of them.

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