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When eating is not just a culinary experience. Every day except Sundays, at lunch and dinner, hundreds of people flock to “La Casalinga” (the name means homemade) in via Michelozzi, ready to wait, in the hope to find a free table. True, eating well is a good enough reason to go to a restaurant and that at La Casalinga you can eat well is not an arguable fact, but when speaking of a trattoria like this one, there are other aspects that are on the minds of the customers. Perhaps it is the Bohemian spirit hovering about the many tables and that makes for the background to debates and exchanges of opinion.
The news of the day is the latest on San Frediano, Santo Spirito and its inhabitants, the changes that have happened in the last years, the “it was better when it was worse,” the disappearance of the legendary “in-between seasons,” the “poor fella who trusted so-and-so,” and, how could it be otherwise, the Fiorentina, the soccer team of Florence.
“We are ruined!” says Paolo, the co-owner, trying to appease the moods and the stomachs of the customers who often let themselves being carried away by the situation.
Here you can find, shoulder to shoulder, sometime at the same table, lawyers, writers, doctors, professionals, businessmen, retirees, workers, students and tourists, witness to the quarrels between the experienced waiter Beppe and the young Fabio and David or to the cruel jokes played by Andrea to Lina, as well as to the loud orders that Cristina gives to the hyperactive kitchen, headed by Ferruccio, Paolo’s partner and brother-in-law. Ferruccio, between a ladle and a pot, never forgets to address Graziella with a “love” or a “sweetie,” even after thirty years of marriage and even when the sentence that follows is all but romantic!
Who knows if all this “racket” was included in the projects of Nello Bartarelli and Oliviero Carrai, the parents of Ferruccio, Graziella and Paolo, when, in 1963 left their farmers’ work in the country to open a small trattoria. From the country, they brought the authenticity of the flavors, the simplicity of the recipes and the nutritious dishes that: “help the mouth to carry the legs” like Nello rightfully used to say. To be a customer at La Casalinga means to become the member of a new family: you will start worrying and ask why the “Furbetto” is not here today, even if his bike is, as usual, parked in the piazza and his baked apple has been duly prepared.
For all those who are not happy with just eating, La Casalinga is in via Michelozzi, next to Piazza Santo Spirito.