Local Lowdown: La Cite

That’s right it’s time for my second installment of my new adventures out and about in Florence!

When I first arrived in Florence, Lorenzo did his best to lead me around the city and show me all of the most famous monuments but I really had no starting ground and didn’t retain a lot of the information. I remember on one particular rainy night we walked to a bar to meet a friend, Lorenzo doing his best to guide me based on landmarks we passed. Needless to say, it didn’t do me a lot of good in learning my way around the city but one of the things that I remember from that night was this little “library” we passed that was so full of young Italians that they were spilling out onto the street. Lorenzo explained that it was some kind of library but it was also a bar, and he said it was a place he had always wanted to see but was too afraid to go to because he didn’t really know how it worked being a hybrid. I laughed at his silly remark and decided I would go there on my own.

Photo credit: ethicalsurfing.com

It took me about six months to get there the first time, one hot summer day I headed in with a friend of mine for a couple of glasses of Prosecco and was pleasantly relaxed surrounded by old used books and comfy couches. Then it closed for a few months over the summer and I never seemed to get around to going back.

These past weeks I have done a lot of thinking realizing that I tend to get more work done when I am outside the comfort of my own four walls. So, I’ve been hopping around local places that offer internet and I chose La Cite as my Friday destination. A friend of mine said they offered amazing, giant mugs of gourmet hot chocolate, so I opted for a packet of ginseng-infused chocolate on my first proper visit. The barista was pleasant and offered me the internet password and directed me to the stairs behind the bar for more seating options.

I found a table and sat down with my hot chocolate, deciding I would fare better to avoid the couch where there was a particularly happy couple groping each other. Then I made the mistake of lifting the mug to my lips to take a sip. I believe it’s a trend over most of Europe that hot chocolate is not the equivalent to what you would find in the U.S., instead it’s literally hot, melted chocolate. My particular cup was more like hot chocolate pudding. I ate the entire mug of it with the provided tea spoon and settled in for a few hours of writing.

Besides the chocolate, they also offer typical coffee drinks and a selection of alcoholic beverages as well. By night it turns into a proper bar playing soft music and full of socializing Italians. I was surprised that during the day it seemed to be mostly full of foreigners and was definitely a place to come to hide from the rain and do some internet browsing.

Of course all cafés are not for everyone, but this one will stay close to my heart as it holds the same charm that a whole-in-the wall hippy café in Seattle would. I haven’t come around at night, but it seems to be a whole different story…