By Jenna Severson
FLORENCE, Italy – Alrighty readers, people say true Italian food is on a completely different level than American Italian food. There are pictures that compare the two. There are even shows that go in depth on the traditions and values of Italian cooking. But hearing or reading or seeing it doesn’t even come close to immersing yourself in it.
These first few days have been a whirlwind of walking and eating and then more walking. It’s been pretty overwhelming trying to take everything in, but one observation that has been very apparent is that food in Italy is treated as its own culture. Fresh ingredients are revered and you can see the passion of what cooks make through the quality of the food.
Tonight the study abroad group ventured across the Ponte Santa Trinita and found ourselves at Gusta Pizza, an establishment that was highly recommended by past study abroad members. When the restaurant opened at 7pm there was already a line in front of the door and wrapped around the corner, signaling that this place means business.
The restaurant itself is relatively small and very quaint in more ways than one. Gusta’s menu only has eight items and the types of pizzas are traditional and simple. The cooking area is next to the cash register and there is a singular pizza oven. This open viewing of the creation of the pizzas shows that the makers don’t feel the need to hide their process behind the wall. In fact, Gusta Pizza is set up to showcase the dedication that is put into every pizza.
That last sentence applies to many other places in Florence. Restaurants give their guests a metaphorical peek behind the curtains, revealing the prowess of the chefs and the pride in the food they are making. Creating and providing food for another person is more than just a transaction in Florence – it’s a connection between the creator and the person eating the food.