What could be more fun than lunch in this characteristic square in Dante’s old neighborhood? Housed in the 14th century Palazzo Corbizzi near the Tower of Donati (the family of Dante’s wife), this family-owned restaurant is known for its generous portions of typical Tuscan dishes, simply prepared and reasonably priced. Owners Giuliano and his wife Vilma have dedicated over two decades to making it the success that it is, and are now joined by their son, Claudio. Together, they do what customers love best – they offer wholesome, home-made pastas, Tuscan specialties such as Ribollita, grilled meats selected from their own butchery, and a selection of over fifty different types of pizza made in their wood-burning oven.
Not able to choose just one, we chose a tris of pastas as our first course. We were brought ample portions of Pappardelle al Cinghiale (wide noodles with wild boar sauce), Gnocchi alla Monna Lagia (made with asparagus and pumpkin) and Tortellaci Maremmani (large tortelloni stuffed with ricotta and spinach in a walnut sauce). We shared a plate of scalloppine in white wine; then could not eat another bite. This didn’t keep my eyes from wandering to the large salads being enjoyed at a nearby table – Insalatone Beatrice made with mozzarella, tuna, olives, red chicory and hard-boiled eggs or the Caterina dei Medici salad, tossed with chicory, pecorino, anchovies and capers.
Pizzas were being delivered presto to the many diners seated under the large umbrellas in the piazza. Offering pizzas mid-day is a rare occurrence for most restaurants in Italy, making this a special treat for both Florentines and visitors to the city. Giuliano’s cantina boasts a large selection of Tuscan wines to accompany the extensive menu selections. I have promised to treat myself soon to a pizza at I Ghibellini – the challenge will be in making up my mind!