Walk to Italy – Florence
Bongiorno! You are in Florence.
Florence, capital of Italy’s Tuscany region, is home to many masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. One of its most iconic sights is the Duomo, a cathedral with a terracotta-tiled dome engineered by Brunelleschi and a bell tower by Giotto. The Galleria dell’Accademia displays Michelangelo’s ‘David’ sculpture. The Uffizi Gallery exhibits Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and da Vinci’s ‘Annunciation’.
Montessori Fact: Maria Montessori spoke at the General Conference of UNESCO in Florence, 1950.
Recipe: Italian Margarita Pizza
For the base
- 300g plain flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast (from a sachet or a tub)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
For the sauce
- 100ml passata
- handful fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 125g ball mozzarella, sliced
- handful grated parmesan
- handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Step 1: Make the base: Put the flour into a large bowl, then stir in the yeast and salt. Make a well, pour in 200ml warm water and the olive oil and bring together with a wooden spoon until you have a soft, fairly wet dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins until smooth. Cover with a tea towel and set aside. You can leave the dough to rise if you like, but it’s not essential for a thin crust.
Step 2: Make the sauce: Mix the passata, basil and crushed garlic together, then season to taste. Leave to stand at room temperature while you get on with shaping the base.
Step 3: Roll out the dough: if you’ve let the dough rise, give it a quick knead, then split into two balls. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into large rounds, about 25cm across, using a rolling pin. The dough needs to be very thin as it will rise in the oven. Lift the rounds onto two floured baking sheets.
Step 4: Top and bake: heat the oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 8. Put another baking sheet or an upturned baking tray in the oven on the top shelf. Smooth sauce over bases with the back of a spoon. Scatter with cheese and tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil and season. Put one pizza, still on its baking sheet, on top of the preheated sheet or tray. Bake for 8-10 mins until crisp. Serve with a little more olive oil, and basil leaves if using. Repeat step for remaining pizza.