Although there are few colder days ahead, summer is definitely at our doorstep and as it comes, our palates claim the nicest food of the hot season: ice-cream.
This time you’ll be taken alongside the famous Vasari’s Corridor which, for centuries, the Medici family and guests have walked through watching the “popolino”, the people of Florence, getting on with their everyday, busy business just below their noble feet.
Best known as Buontalenti, mister Bernando Timante Buonacorsi himself must have walked through it, perhaps discussing menus and other things with his highborn patrons.
From Palazzo Pitti, just on the other side of Ponte Vecchio, the Medicis would secretly stroll just above Ponte Vecchio. There, from the little round windows of the hidden corridor they would enjoy the view of the goldsmiths which replaced, by order of Feredinando I de’ Medici in the late sixteenth century, the stinky butchers once there.
They would then go through the Uffizi where masterpieces, gathered across decades and centuries, were enjoyed by nobles, aristocrats and their guests until modern times when anybody from all other the world canadmire them..
Further down, a so often overlooked by tourists, another part of the Corridor, suspended between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi, took the Medicis to the heart of the political life of the former Florentine Republic.
It is in one of these ancient, magnificent halls of Palazzo Vecchio that the Medicis held their famous banquets for which they hired some incredibly talented and creative stage designers, cooks and so forth. One of these incredible figures was indeed the Buontalenti, architect, stage designer, military engineer, mechanic and mathematician.
The history of ice-cream and its link with Florence starts with this versatile, multiskilled character. The birth of ice-cream is indeed credited to Buontalenti who created the tasty dessert for one of the Medicis’ banquets.
While ice-cream is certainly not the only special dessert invented by Buontalenti, it is certainly the most widely appreciated all over the world.
Centuries have passed since the Medicis started ruling Florence, yet Tuscany retained a variety of ancient tastes and culinary habits and dishes until modern times.
The bridal banquet of Mary of the Medici and Henry IV of France, celebrated on the 5th of October 1600 in Florence, in the Salone dei Cinquecento, one of the beautiful halls in Palazzo Vecchio, was apparently one of the most luxurious and scenic meals in history. The description of this specific part of the wedding celebration was recorded by Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane, the great artist’s grand nephew. These are some of the dishes offred during the banquet: twenty-six cold dishes including peacocks, birds, pigeons; eighteen hot “secondi” dishes; ten hot dishes including various puddings, cheese and fruit.
For this grand event, the tables were covered with colourful fabric. There were sugar statues, sugar furnishings and incredible shows.
Naturally, desserts and cakes had a key part in this sumptuous banquet including Buontalenti’s worldwide famous, delicious dessert.
In time, ice-cream has become a worldwide success but not so many ice-cream shop can offer a product made like Buontalenti would have done.
“Perché No!…” (literally “Why Not!…”) is a small, family run, historical shop in the heart of Florence, just few steps away from Palazzo Vecchio, where the famous banquet took place under the supervision and with the vision of Buontalenti.
The ice-creams that can be tasted at Perché No!… reflect the simplicity and concept of the ancient, original recipe. Only a handful of ingredients for each one of them, four to be precise, mixed with the mastery of ice-cream makers’ skills through decades now close to a century old business.
Perché No!… ice-creams are genuine, delicious and as tasty as they look. Exactly like the Renaissance master, this shop’s ice-cream maker offers as much creativity to please both the eyes and the palate.
Roses or lavender, pumpkin or pomegranate? Will you choose the novelty of the month, the seasonal taste, the all year round flavour or the customers’ favourite? You will always find some new creative delicious flavour to try and enjoy.
Whether you have it at the start, in the middle or at the end of the day, Perché No!… ice-cream is the cherry on top of your experience, especially if you arel going through Florence city centre to admire its fabulous monuments and works of art.
Seeing Perché No!… show of ice-cream flavours in the shop is a bit like being in a passionate alchemist’s laboratory where colours, shapes, scents and tastes mix in a unique combination your palate will never forget.
Slow tourism also means discovering and appreciating real tastes of the local culture. Perché No!… offers a great opportunity to do it in a forest of tourist-sized businesses. Don’t forget to engage in conversation with the owners, they will be delighted to talk about their work!
Keep up-to date on Perché No!…’s initiatives and, of course, flavours on Facebook www.facebook.com/GelateriaPercheNo
For more insights about Perché No!… please visit their website http://www.percheno.firenze.it/