Well, Frank and I surprised even ourselves with our latest day out on the town. Our plan was to have lunch at a cute little cafe and spend the afternoon at a museum.
Cantinetta del Varrazzano
The cafe – the Cantinetta del Verrazzano – is a bakery specializing in focaccia and owned by a family that is famous for its wines. It only has 4 little marble-topped tables in a narrow space, and we were super lucky to snag the table by the window. It was a rainy and cold day, so very romantic and cozy. We had a glass of Verrazzano Chianti and shared an assortment of facaccia finger sandwiches and Tuscan prosciutto.
And then . . .
As we stepped back outside and I was taking a picture of the cafe (above), a man standing on the street asked how we liked it. He and Frank struck up a conservation and turns out the man, Gianni, owned a leather good store on the same block. (Of course – I’m sure he completely saw us coming all the way from our window seat in the cute little cafe.) He told us that this leather company is small and is all in the family – 35 of them working in the hills of Tuscany designing and hand-sewing these jackets. He asked where we were from and told us that his business does trunk shows in DC each year (which did turn out to be true – at the Willard no less).
He said, “Let me just give you my card – come with me.” Well, that was our downfall. We politely followed him into his store, and he gave us his card. His “cousin” appeared and started taking down leather jackets and saying just to try. I have never really liked leather jackets (on me at least) so was not all that excited but did try one on. Meanwhile, Frank and Gianni were laughing about Italian stories and paying no attention. Then Gianni says, “Let’s all have some wine” and pours us all glasses of Chianti “from my family’s vineyard.” And his cousin keeps bringing down jackets for me to try on.
Long story short – I am now the proud owner of a beautiful blue leather trench coat style jacket – “an original designed by my aunt,” according to Gianni. See pictures below. Gianni even threw in a bottle of his family’s famous wine. (Needless to say, we never made it to the museum.)
And tonight, Frank and I are dining at the restaurant that is owned by Gianni’s “friend since we were bambini.” He called and made reservations for us right in the store. That Gianni is a very good salesman – Mamma Mia!
Epilogue: We did go to the restaurant – Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco (Restaurant of the White Boar). It was fabulous and one of our best experiences so far. It is on the Oltrarno (other side of Arno River) and had a line out the door. But our reservations said “Gianni, 2 Ameicano VIP” so we had a prime table waiting. Their specialty is boar – I had a grilled boar steak and Frank had pasta with boar. They even brought us grappa at the end – and we merrily made our way back home.