Shhhh! It's a Secret!

ImageWalking at a brisk pace down the narrow roads of Florence, on my final night in the city before leaving for Rome, I found myself skipping the turn to my apartment, for something much more appetizing than a healthy amount of sleep – in fact something much more unhealthy—a croissant filled with chocolate.

But shh…it’s a secret, and no one is supposed to know.

The secret that I speak of is that of the secret bakeries that fill the back alleyways of Florence, Italy. But to learn of the secret locations, you need not read about them, seek them out, or stumble upon them. No, it takes something much more simpler than this to learn of the secret bakery locations – your nose, and not a very strong one at that.

Walking at a brisk pace down the narrow roads of Florence, at a distance of four blocks away, the smell of fresh bread, pizza, and chocolate lurked through the streets like a night prowler searching for it’s prey. Like a textbook kidnapping, the bakery smell took my ability to make a conscious decision to go straight home. Instead of walking to my own apartment, I was walking into what was disguised as an apartment complex, but that had hundreds of croissants instead of couches. I was walking into the Baker’s version of Wonka’s factory – I was walking into heaven.

I had been here before, but each time it was because of the smell that traveled through both the air and the cracks of the cobblestone. Each time I walked in, I never wanted to leave, but this night was more special. On this final night in Florence, I had been lured to the bakery right when the timer was beeping on the oven and right as the croissants were being filled with chocolate – right when perfection was being placed on a tray in front of me.

ImageAs I reached for a euro to pay for the beautiful croissant that I was about to indulge in, I looked behind me and noticed a line starting to form. If this was a true kidnapping, I wondered what the bakers would request in return for our souls “More chocolate” “More flour” “more space.”

The baker handed me the bag, and I was on my way. Covering the croissant as if my life depended on it, I dodged raindrops until I reached my apartment. Up the steps and into my kitchen, I went, excited to pounce on my treat, the very thing that had taken me down the path that had been taken many a times.

As I stared at my croissant with chocolate, I licked my lips and pulled it closer to my mouth, which was now watering a significant amount. As I bit down, the bottom began to crack and chocolate oozed from all sides covering my fingers in gooey deliciousness. I could feel the chocolate at the sides of my mouth, and instead of stopping to use a napkin, I continued to indulge. This little piece of heaven wasn’t getting put down until I had the opportunity to enjoy every second of it. This little piece of heaven was going to be over way too soon to waste time cleaning up part of what made it so unbelievable. ‘If this wasn’t the best secret in Florence – then I have no idea what else could be,’ I thought to myself and as I finished licking my fingers, I pondered one more idea, “If only I had bought two...”


Libby Segal is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island where she studied Communication Studies and Film Media. She has recently moved to Italy for eight months in to teach English as a second language. While in Italy, she keeps a blog chronicling her cups of cappuccino. <