Trattoria Anita

I don't remember how I found Anita's, but it was 1972, my first time in Florence — my first time in Europe! — and somebody probably steered me there, because at the time it wasn't listed in the guidebooks and it's so tucked away that I doubt I would have just stumbled across it on my own.

Then, it was a working-class dive for working-class people —you never heard a word of English spoken unless I happen to be there with friends — but the food was cheap and superb. I used to go six days a week — it was closed on Mondays — at least once and often twice a day. The spaghetti all carbonara and trotta alla grillia (grilled trout) were my favorites. And, as if that wasn't enough, it's only about a three-minute walk from Vivoli's, the best ice cream in the world!

I returned to Anita's many many times over the next 15 years, but after visiting Italy with Becca and her mother in 1987, I didn't get back until the summer of 2001. That's when this picture was taken. Anita's still looks the same on the outside, but the inside had been redone. It's a restaurant now, not a dive, and there are tourists speaking English inside — but the food's still great, and the prices still can't be beat.

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