It was a beautiful day in Firenze, and after after a very heavy Tuscan lunch of Bistecca Fiorentina ToT & Bro needed to have a pick-me-upper to keep us from falling asleep, especially since we just came off a long plane ride from the other side of the world
We searched for: The Infamous Cappuccino Heart of Caffe Liberta
The same cappuccino heart that kept my blood nice and perky when I was a temporary Firenze native back in 2005. Note the attempt to smile amidst the braces.
The heart isn't so hard to find in a regular coffee shop, but it's the experience that comes with it which makes it special. The memorable experience of Caffe Liberta as a (not so starving) student in the birthplace of the Renaissance attempting to focus on "studying" while being lambasted with art, culture, beauty, and hot Italianos on a daily basis, is one I will never forget. Above is ToT with her Pepperdine classmates trying to be proper and drinking our cafe in a REAL cup.
For over two months, I found myself throwing my Euros to the bartender/barista on a daily basis. Not coz he was cute, which he was, admittedly.
But because I needed my daily cup of caffeine to keep the study-travel-party-test-eat-party-study-sleep lifestyle afloat as long as I can. Nothing perks you up on a boring study session like Italian Coffee can! I was hooked to the point of shaking while going back home. But I did get straight As!
We became regulars at Caffe Liberta, as all Pepperdine students do because it's the designated study nook and the Saturday breakfast point for the travelers who wanted to pack something to munch before they headed off to another town. Massimo, the kind Manager, always loved having the crazy American students around, even if we looked crappy and sleep deprived most of the time. He would make sure our needs are as much a priority as the locals'.
I was such a loyalist, that for my birthday they even gave me a birthday cream puff, which I absolutely ADDICTED to and had to have on a daily basis. Note the rounder face after only a month and a half on that diet.
And when I left for Malibu, I sorely missed Caffe Liberta and its beautiful interiors, warm service, and delicious coffee drinks. I vowed to come back soon, if only to have another cappuccino and say Ciao! to Massimo and the gang.
Massimo and I are FB friends so he recognized me immediately and have me a big hug. Italians seem to enjoy hugging ToT... hmmm
I had my eyes locked on one thing for a very long time... the pastry chiller, purveyor of all things yummy.
Inside that chiller, you will find the most delicious, dainty and creamy baby cream puffs that are just the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of espresso or cappuccino. I ordered my favorito: the Nociola or hazelnut cream puff. I wanted to bring some home with me... but again I was still on day 0 of our trip and I knew they wouldn't last an hour under my watch.
I wanted some of their coffee concoctions, but it was just so damn hot in Florence that day, that I bailed out and ordered my second favorite drink in Florence: Esta THE, Pesca (peach) flavor. It has got to be the most refreshing drink out there, and perfect for a warm Tuscan afternoon.
But in keeping with tradition, I ordered an Iced Coffee, which was such a treat, as they used a shaker to chill it with ice, then poured it in a champagne flute. So classy, these Italians. ToT is one happy reminiscing tourist, one friend noted it was the "Florentine Glow"
I was tempted to buy up the entire display of pastilles and coffee mints... but must be indifferent to beautiful packaging in Italy, at least for one day.
And speaking of history, it was wonderful to touch base with Massimo, who once fed these two hungry Filipino students living with a handful of Americans attempting to find themselves amidst the wonder of Florence. He is also a very active Salsa dancer, and performs around the country, so I enjoyed hearing his stories about his other love.
It was great to go back and rekindle the memories Bro and I had separately in Florence, and how both of us found some solace in the caffeine jolt given by Caffe Liberta. And it's not just a Pepperdine thing, you will fall in love with Caffe Liberta from Cappuccino to Cream Puff!
If you are in Firenze, grab a cup of Heart shaped Cappuccino at Caffe Liberta and Look for Massimo. Tell him my name (not ToT) and he will treat you as his good friend! Try the Creampuff!
Be Caffe Liberta's Facebook Fan! Ignore all the Italian on the page... it has very interesting tidbits!
Piazza della Libertà, 26
50129 Firenze, Italia