After a quick breakfast at the hotel, we hit the road…just as the sun popped up on the horizon. The weather was clear and the air crisp.
We hit heavy traffic on the way to our meeting. An accident near Cattolica slowed us down tremendously. The driver appeared unhurt.
Thank goodness the Autostrades (highways) have frequent roadside stations. We stopped for a cappuccino and glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice. Amazing. 4,60EUR with a croissant.
Our first meeting went quite well, taking about two hours and leaving us three hours until our next meeting across town.
A Lunch to Remember
I asked for a lunch recommendation on the way our of our meeting and a place called Osteria del Grano was recommended. The restaurant was not in a particularly beautiful area of town, but turned out to be a superb choice for lunch.
My Italian friend Bruno in LA had advised me to try chiannina, a special steak in the Florence region. That’s exactly what we ordered and the restaurant owner himself brought out a beautiful piece of beef for our approval.
We began lunch lasagna, which was fabulous but not even necessary because every table received complimentary pizza-like focaccia bread. Delicous, delicious, delicious.
The main course arrived and all I could say was, WOW. It was carved at our table, tender, and full of flavor. Rather than another starch, I just had a mixed salad on the side. The salad was salad, but the olive oil and balsamic vinegar were exquisite.
After finishing, I was pleasantly filled but not stuffed. To avoid that stuffed feeling, I skipped dessert and just ordered an espresso. That was an impressive too.
This was an incredible meal, and at 100EUR for two people including cover charge, a steal.
If you’re in the Florence area, I highly recommend this restaurant for lunch or dinner.
We headed to our next two meetings, both of which went very well.
Where to Sleep?
It was now 6pm and we faced the same dilemma as the day before: continue north to the Milano area or stop for the night. Still feeling satisfied from lunch and wired from several cups of coffee, we hit the Autostrade once again and traveled north from Florence to the outskirts of Milan.
I noticed an Eataly across the highway from one gas station we stopped at. These retusrnats are in the USA as well: a couple in New York and one in LA. I love the LA location: it’s a mix of restaurant and high-end Italian grocery store in the Westfield Century City.
We still weren’t sure where we were going to stay, but because all three meetings the following day were north of Milan, we stopped in a little town called Legnano for the night at a hotel called the Palace Hotel.
I tried to negotiate here to no avail, but the 85EUR price was fair…I guess. The hotel’s website advertised a fairly nice looking spa, but when I asked how late that was open I was told it was closed for maintenance. Whatever…
The bathroom also appeared like a cruise ship, so I’d just avoid this place in the future. Breakfast was also particularly bad in the morning. When coffee is bad in Italy, you know something is wrong.
Anyway, I wanted to get to bed but was still hungry. Small problem: it was now approaching 11p and everything was closed. Well, almost everything…
“The McDonald’s is still open.”
I’m not going to lie, it was fine. But such a shame to eat McDonald’s in Italy and I had probably had enough meat/cholesterol from lunch earlier in the day to last the whole week.
Back at the hotel, I passed out: tomorrow would be another big day.
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