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Florence. The birthplace of some of the most inspirational people in the Western world: Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Dante and…Natalie Panozzo, co-owner of Florence for Foodies; a walking food tour that will school you on everything from grassy olive oil to grappa spray.

Florence for Foodies begins with a marocchino; an espresso with milk, cocoa and melted chocolate (pictured above) at a lovely little cafe where Natalie or her partner Samantha Boi teach you the Italian Coffee Code of Conduct—i.e., no dairy in your coffee past lunch. That’s for babies.

In the central market, you’ll sample the very best bollito (pictured), a sandwich made of marinated veal and two secret sauces that the people of Nerbone have been making since 1872. You’ll also try outrageously fresh cheeses, cured meats, olive oils and decades-aged balsamic vinegars, all accompanied by chianti—a breakfast wine, of course.

The bollito sandwich, made of marinated veal and two secret sauces.

At the next stop, you’ll be greeted with a glass of Prosecco and a fantastically salty, doughy coccolo sandwich filled with prosciutto and creamy Stracchino cheese. Wash this down with more Chianti Reserve and learn about the wine region while you stand in a 500-year-old wine cellar that was once a prison cell!

Next, a dreaded grappa spray. Grappa = hard alcohol made from grapes, to the tune of 120 proof. This mouth spray of death comes in an innocent-looking perfume bottle and has been used as an afternoon pick-me-up for decades. Oh yes, it will definitely induce an involuntary yowza at first. But don’t worry bella, everything gets sweeter from here on out as you live la dolce vita with chocolates and gelato.

Florence for Foodies lasts 3 hours and leaves you with a wonderful experience. You’ll learn about the historical nature of food production in Tuscany and eat and drink your way through one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Who can say “no” to that?

Photos by Lauren Jones

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