FLORENCE, Italy—Early each morning a sweet aroma spills into the streets of Florence signifying sugary croissants and fresh pastries rising in hot ovens. Dedicated bakers begin their next day while most residents are still winding theirs down. Late night wanderer’s noses follow the fragrant path to a nighttime snack. In this moment, a transaction of pastry and cash takes place. Word of mouth gets you there, or maybe just your nose. For savy wanderers, suddenly, the city’s “secret bakeries” are no longer a secret
One night, a thick scent hit us strongly at Via Torta.”. Around the corner in a narrow alleyway, the buildings did not seem alive, nor was there any clear entrance. There was no visible sign hanging above; rather graffiti decorated the side of the wall in this crammed street. It was clear no business resided there. Still, an anxious group waited outside, sheepishly in small herds awaiting something.
Behind the thick white walls, wholesale bakers made their daily supply of goods to send to multiple cafes in Florence. Their purpose is not to conduct business at that hour. Rather they are there to bake for their real job. Still, they were prepared for the late night crowd eagerly awaiting a sweet treat.
We approached the one lit up window and a man quickly handed us a small bag with a request for three euro in return. We handed him the money, he quickly shut the window and we were off. Inside the white bag laid three perfectly crafted, warm and oozing chocolate croissants. The filling was smooth and subtle but still satisfied every cho¬colate craving. As we strolled home, feeling that enchanting aroma still around us, we devoured the most delicious midnight snack.