A genuine Italian restaurant in the tourist district in Florence
Imagine being at Disneyland. Amidst all Mickey Mouses and Donald Ducks you find our very own national children’s story-teller Astrid Lindgren. She wonders if you want to listen to a story. What would you do? Hanging with the Disney characters, or stop and listen to Astrid?
Now, this parallel is of course a bit far-fetched, but certainly one can think of Massimo Zetti and Marta Mezzetti as Astrid Lindgren. But now we are not talking fairy tales but food. Real food. Osteria de l’Ortolano is something as rare as a genuine bottega. Surrounded by the Florence tourist chaos.
The venue looks just as you would imagine an Italian bottega. Filled to overflowing with olive oils, cheeses and hams. All products of the highest calibre. Massimo and Marta personally visit all producers before they decide to sell a particular product. So have they worked since they opened in 1962. If you have the time there are many stories to listen to. Just like old times. When one actually greeted and talked to the person behind the counter.
“We try to survive despite the fact that most of our Florentine customers moved out of the centre”, says Massimo Zetti.
That is also why they decided to open a small osteria with twenty seats right next to the bottega. It is also open in the evenings.
“There will be long days but the bottega is bigger than our apartment so it is better to be here”, jokes Massimo.
The food is authentic but ambitious. For the right money. The spring menu includes for example homemade pasta with fresh asparagus, rabbit roulade and also Massimo greatest pride. His own home-made dessert with dark chocolate.
Are you in the centre Florence, leave the tourist chaos and pop in at Massimo and Marta’s place. Osteria de l’ Ortolano is located between the Duomo and the Accademia museum where statue of David stands. Do not be in a rush. Just like when you listen to one of Astrid Lindgren’s stories, you cannot leave before you know how it ends. That is, after the dessert.
Osteria de l’ Ortolano, Via degli Alfani 91/r, Firenze, tel. 0039 (0) 55 23 96 466
Åsa Johansson is BKWine’s person in Italy. She lives in Florence since the early ’00s. She has a passion for all things Italian, so much so that she married an Italian and stayed in Florence after having come there to study political science.
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