La Ménagère: folk elegance in Florence
La Ménagère is located inside a former 19th-century household product store – the first, in fact, to ever open in Florence.
Via de’ Ginori – where the restaurant can be found at number 8R, with its extremely original and experimental interpretation of traditional cuisine, in a venue that elegantly recreates the mood of old Florentine ‘trattorie’ – used to be a patrician street where shoemakers, grocers, tobacconists, hemp workers, fruit sellers, and delicatessen owners worked in the shadow of aristocratic palaces of the 19th century, belonging to the Levi, Ginori, and Tolomei families.
There were, of course, restaurants as well. After wondering around Florence, Hermann Hesse wrote down on his diary:
“Even without searching for works of art, I am happy to wander around the churches where priests sing and sometimes beautiful women kneel on the benches. I visited the beautiful courtyard of a private palace in Via Ginori. Took a long walk in the streets brought to life by the Sunday crowd. At seven thirty I got bread, cheese and wine at a tavern, where two girls from the Salvation Army were distributing their warmongering flyers; one of the two was cute and funny. The check was four times lower than I expected.”
“In the best Italian ‘trattorie’ […] fun is always a group affair, engaging all tables with everyone’s participation, from ladies to shoeshine boys. The liveliness of any argument and the standard of good manners (albeit in their extreme simplicity) go far beyond German people’s customs.”
“Since I don’t want to tire my eyes, I hardly ever go to galleries. Instead, I wander around alleys, squares, loggias, inns, and restaurants, enjoying the simple people’s life and most importantly their inexpensive and refined food” (translated from H. Hesse, “Dall’Italia”, Mondadori, Milan 2015).
La Ménagère is where we can do the same.