History, Location, Cuisine… La Loggia has it all. In conjunction with the creation of the Piazzale Michelangelo designed by architect Giuseppe Poggi, La Loggia was originally built in 1865 to house a Michelangelo museum. The tree-lined avenues leading up from the banks of the Arno to the impressive piazza, the square itself, and the Loggia were all part of an ambitious plan to give the city a facelift following, and in celebration of, the unification of Italy and the establishment of the new government in Florence. Instead, in 1876 this lovely neoclassical building became the Panoramic Restaurant destined to become a historical institution, not only for its architectural beauty but also for its cuisine, and the part it still plays in the social life of the city, drawing Florentines and foreigners from all over the world to its tables.
From the tables in the dining room, and through the arches of the loggia, or from the rooftop terrace, La Loggia offers incomparable views of the city – the Arno, the Ponte Vecchio, the turrets and towers and domes of Dante’s city – most spectacular of all the Duomo, especially when softly illuminated at night. This evening the dining room tables are graced with silver chargers set on fine table linens, with fresh flowers. The atmosphere is relaxed, yet elegant. Our waiter opens a bottle of Chianti Classico, Tagliafune 2005, produced for the restaurant by the University of Florence’s Agricultural Department. It has earned a DOCG classification, and it is well merited. La Loggia has a team of six chefs, and during high season, six more join the team. Tonight Franco Carnivale has prepared some marvelous dishes, but the filet mignon of Tuscan beef, made with lardo and a reduction of Chianti wine is superb. In fact, Chianti also starred in our pasta course, flavoring the very tasty ragú that topped fresh pici.
Soft music makes conversation easy and silent moments enjoyable. As we sip the sweetness of Passito di Pantaliera, Sicily’s noted Moscato, it is easy to understand why La Loggia has remained popular for 130 years, whether one comes to dine or to simply enjoy an aperitif as shadows lengthen and day turns into dusk. Claudio Nobbio, in his poem entitled “Aperitivo sulla terrazza di Firenze” ends his day – and his verse – with these words:
In the meantime, they bring me an iced aperitif
And it is in these moments that I love Florence