After a completely satisfying day of wandering among the greats, my thirst for the masters was finally quenched.  I was off on a search for an equally satisfying meal.  I exited Uffizi and enjoyed a stroll through the outdoor gallery where the statues of the greats were on display.  Since I’m a particular fan of da Vinci and his diversity of talents, I decided to stroll down the street that was directly across from him.

The cobble stone street led me to Caruso Restaurant and Jazz Café. I entered the restaurant and it was playing American jazz classics while the artist’s photos were showcased on the walls. I was in heaven. The building was a delightful combination of rustic and contemporary – a brick arch in the ceiling, mosaic tiles on the wall and plaster-designed artwork on the ceiling.  The walls were filled with metal artwork that was both elegant and contemporary.

The tables were covered in burgundy and I knew I found my perfect restaurant.  My server confirmed my belief.  She spoke very little English, but we understood our mutual language of food, wine and music.  I ordered a risotto with shrimp, clams and crab.   It remains one of the best meals I’ve ever enjoyed.  The clams were in the shell and the smallest, most delicate clams I’d ever seen. I asked for a big, bold Chianti – it needed to match the day I was experiencing.  Of course, she brought me the perfect wine in the perfect glass.  I savored the entire lunch and ate nearly the entire basket of bread with olive oil and fresh grated parmesan cheese.  Enough that I needed a second glass of wine.

When my server discovered I love jazz, she invited me to return on Friday at 9 p.m.  They have live jazz.  I now had Friday night covered.

After enjoying a leisurely, late lunch listening to the jazz greats, I explored the Florence shops.  I managed to wear a pair of sandals that were killing my feet, so I decided to have an evening in that night.  I found some local shops and bought fresh pecorino (aged sheep) cut from the cheese wheel, bread, olive oil and Chianti.  I returned home to my hotel and enjoyed a nap before feasting on my Italian spread.  It started to rain and, from my window, I watched the tourists below scurry for cover.  The din of the streets dropped several decibels.  The sun was still shining brilliantly and the clouds danced in the sky.

I flipped through my Rick Steves’ book on Florence to plan the rest of my adventure.  Tomorrow, I would check out the San Lorenzo market and buy some more gifts and pick up an extra bag to ease the load of my over-packed bag.  I picked up a few treats for myself this afternoon: an ornate, Arabic letter “J” wax stamp accompanied by a large gold wax stick and an ornate calligraphy book filled with intricate examples of calligraphy styles.  These were perfect gifts for me.  They represent art and I love wax stamping my note cards to give them a unique and memorable touch.  One of my next art projects is to learn calligraphy. I’ve been trying to teach myself, but I really need a calligraphy class, which will be a priority this fall.

Feeling fulfilled, I called it a day.