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Italian Tripe

While in Florence, those with a sense of culinary adventure should seek out a tripe sandwich, which is just about as revered by local gourmands as the bistecca alla fiorentina. In this case, however, the treasure comes on the cheap—sandwiches are sold from small stands found in the city center, topped with a fragrant green sauce or a piquant red hot sauce, or both. Bagnato means that the hard, crusty roll is first dipped in the tripe's cooking liquid; it's advisable to say "sì" when asked if that's how you like it. Sandwiches are usually taken with a glass of red wine poured from the tripe seller's fiasco (flask). If you find the tripe to your liking, you might also enjoy lampredotto, another (some say better) cut of stomach. For an exalted, high-end tripe treat, try Fabio Picchi's cold tripe salad, served gratis as an amuse-bouche at the restaurant Cibrèo. It could make a convert of even the staunchest "I'd never try that" kind of eater.

Tripe carts are lunchtime favorites of Florentine working men—it's uncommon, but not unheard of, to see a woman at a tripe stand. Aficionados will argue which sandwich purveyor is best; here are three that frequently get mentioned:

Il Trippaio (Via de' Macci at Borgo La Croce, Santa Croce, Florence, 50122. No phone. Closed Sun.)

La Trippaia (Via dell'Ariento, Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 50100. No phone. Closed Sun.)

Updated: 2014-04-18

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