We were looking forward to see Florence. The history it holds, the story of the Medici family, to see the buildings that also came to pass in the tv. Series of Da Vinci’s Demons, but most importantly, the fact the Medici rule still holds concerning dogs.
In 2008, the Florentine government passed a bill allowing dogs and their owners access to restaurants, art galleries, post offices, museums and stores. The only place where one cannot take dear Fido in Florence is The Teatro del Maggio Musicale, the Florence Opera House. While restaurants and retail stores do reserve the right to decline the entrance of a dog, that authority is generally not exercised. Dogs are not required to be on leashes either and are free to roam solo along the cobblestone streets of Florence.
‘The heart-warming union between man and his best friend in Florence take roots in the city’s rich history. Dogs have always played an integral role in Florentine society, amassing the reputation of a loyal and true companion for life. A common iconography used in Italian art is a dog- either awake or sleeping- representing the status of loyalty of the parties portrayed in the painting. For Lorenzo the Magnificent, his hunting dogs were a status symbol as well as loyal companions who often received princely treatment and were in attendance during important meetings and dinners.’
With these words, we loved Florence even well before we’ve been there. And now that we have, we are even more in love. We couldn’t wait to roam the streets of Florence with our two apparently moviestar-like puppies, with and without their designer leashes and shoes on.
The history it holds was truly overwhelming. But that the taste of history would be such a real experience, was a bonus that really wasn’t necessary.
We had lunch at a Irish pub, because Ramon wanted a nice glass of Kilkenny for a change. Huge disappointment they only had local beer to serve, we still stayed for lunch. By the time we were finished, my reflux was working at its best. So with a quick pace I entered the restaurant to search for the toilet. I only had to follow the distinct smell of urine, that became stronger with every step I came closer. When I opened the mixed gender toilet door, I was shocked with horror. There was no toilet. There was only a small platform with a hole in it. Splashes of freshly made shiny drops of faeces covered the wall behind it. No way!!! Seriously????
I was so baffled with disgust, I turned around and swallowed back my returning lunch. No way I was going to throw up in here. I sat down next to Ramon again and told him of my horror. But I couldn’t finish telling, because the reflux came back stronger than before. There was no choice, I had to go back. My fear of what would happen became real. All the remains of my predecessors that I still could see lying in the hole, splatted up against my face when I had to throw up. I kept my eyes closed so I wouldn’t see the faeces onto the wall and in the hole. But the feel of the drops hitting against my face and the smell of it all, made more than lunch alone return. When nothing was left in my stomach anymore to give, I made a turn to the left where even the sink was stained with whatever, and I cleaned my face. No means to dry my face and hands, but even if there would have been, I don’t think I wanted to use it.
So this is how they must have used the toilet back in the days…..
Enough real taste of history for me today… just want to look at buildings and statues from now on.
At the end of the day, when we were on our way back to the car, we decided to have a drink at a restaurant called Gilly. It is one of the oldest cafès of Italy. Caffè Gilli was founded in 1733. In 1848 it became a local nerve center for the Florentine intellectuals and artists. In recent years, most of the Italian and international celebrities and artists who have come to Florence have paid a visit to Caffè Gilli.
So off course I wanted to sit here and have a drink, to end our amazing day. It was a beautiful experience of the yin and yang of restaurants in one day, especially since it ended with the yang. The toilet was how it was supposed to be, and the food, drinks and service was even greater. I choose a pastry of the menu I thought would be without chocolate, but it turned out to be almost only chocolate. Amazed by the beauty of it, I was utterly disappointed I couldn’t eat it.
By the time we wanted to pay and leave, the waiter asked what was wrong with the pastry. I told him since there was no word of chocolate on the menu on the piece of pastry, I choose this one because I can’t eat chocolate. I simply made a wrong choice. ‘Can you eat fruit? I will bring you a new one, just wait…’ the waiter said and returned with a new one. ‘The mistake was neither your or my fault , so please enjoy this new pastry.’
Well, this day really couldn’t have end any better than this. My smile went from ear to ear, and it didn’t leave my face until it rested on my pillow to sleep.