by Melinda Gallo

Circling the city for a pastry shop

For a dinner at a friend's house tonight, I decided to go to a pasticceria (pastry shop) to buy a torta (cake). The weather looked a little iffy this morning, so I ran out as soon as I could to find an open pasticceria. I had a few ideas in my head of where I wanted to go, but I wanted to stay close by. I headed along the lungarno (street that runs along the Arno) toward the Ponte Vecchio because I wanted to try a pasticceria that I had heard about.

Living in Florence :: Circling the city for a pastry shop

As I walked over the Ponte Santa Trinità, I glanced over at the Ponte Vecchio where I saw only a few people on it. I could see straight through the arches of the ponte (bridge) to the other side. I pulled out my macchina fotografica (camera), which I had strapped around my neck and under my jacket. I didn't bring a handbag, which is where I sometimes keep my macchina fotografica so that I could have my hands free to carry the torta. When I was taking the picture I didn't notice that to the right above the roof of the Ponte Vecchio is the statue of David in Piazzale Michelangiolo, but when I uploaded it to my computer, I saw his greenish silhouette.

There was a pasticceria that I wanted to try on via Maggio, Dolcissima, but when I got there it wasn't open. I had read that they were open on Mondays, but I didn't see a sign anywhere that listed their hours because the saracinesca (rolling shutter) was down. I thought about going to another one that I love, Stefania, but it was too far away and also closed on Mondays.

I walked back across Ponte Santa Trinità and headed toward Piazza della Signoria, but then I remembered that Rivoire was closed for its annual winter break. I walked down via Calzaiuoli toward the Duomo to see what else was open. I was about to go to Piazza Repubblica, but I couldn't remember if Gilli was closed on Mondays or Tuesdays. I walked into Robiglio in via Tosinghi and didn't see anything interesting.

I walked down via Roma and headed toward Scudieri, which is in front of the Battistero. I used to buy their torta della nonna until I tasted the one at Pugi that I fell in love with.

It started to rain, so I tried to walk briskly because I didn't bring an ombrello (umbrella) with me. Had I had more time and if it wasn't raining, I would've run to Pugi in Piazza San Marco to get a torta.

I arrived in front of Scudieri and saw a schiacciata alla fiorentina (Florentine thin sheet cake) in the vetrina (window), which was covered with powdered sugar and had a giglio (lily/Florence's coat of arms) sprinkled on top in cocoa. My mouth began to water because it looked so good, and I haven't eaten a schiacciata alla fiorentina since last year.

I walked in and told the man at the cassa (cash register) that I wanted to buy the schiacciata alla fiorentina. While the woman was wrapping it up, I paid the man at the cassa. When I returned, the woman had put the schiacciata alla fiorentina in a plastic bag to keep it from getting wet.

When I walked out, it began to rain even more. I had to hold the schiacciata alla fiorentina like a waiter carries a platter all the way home. I hoped that the giglio would remain in tact for our friends to see it.

Even though so many shops were closed either because it was their day off or because they are on their annual winter break, I was happy to have found a schiacciata alla fiorentina. I couldn't wait for dinner so that we could taste it. Luckily I went early to find a torta because it rained all afternoon.

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