By David Orr – Writer –

Thanksgiving, the giant American holiday second only to Christmas, can seem far away while studying, traveling or living in Italy.  Italian Sunday lunches can mask as gluttonous takedowns of all things-on-a-plate, but where, one might ask is the (NFL) football, the dumpster-sized turkey, the uncle you haven’t talked to since last Thanksgiving?  Florence is the answer, one of the best places outside the USA to celebrate Thanksgiving, thanks to its high degree of expats, its natural relationship with food, and access to buckets of vino.


For those who want to avoid pulling the pin on the grenade that will inevitably hit your kitchen should you cook at home, Michelin starred Il Palagio (Borgo Pinti 99, 055/26261) has a complete Thanksgiving Day menu. One can sample traditional turkey alongside crema di castagna (chestnuts) with orange scented lobster, which may or may not be as good as your Aunt Mabel’s giblet gravy.  90 Euro per person, drinks excluded. Mama’s Bakery (Via della Chiesa, 055/219214) has stand-up pies that are baked especially for the holidays.  Other can’t miss spots for Americana include The Diner (Via dell’Acqua 3, 055/290748), The 1950 American Diner (Via del Moro 85R, 055/281193), Ristorante Accademia (Piazza San Marco 7r, 055/217343), and the Hard Rock Cafe (Via dei Brunelleschi 1, 055/2670499). For those wanting to cook at home, the best place to find turkeys is the Mercato Centrale in Florence’s San Lorenzo district, where the vendors are used to finding Americans in dire need of free-range poultry. It’s also a great place to find yams.  Cranberries are difficult to find in Italy, but the red current-sized frutti di bosco berries serve as great substitutes. For those in desperate need, the American Salad Company ( can whip up a sauce for you. To get marshmallows you’ll have to travel to the intergalactic-sized IperCoop or Esselunga while the much more conveniently sized Vivi Market (Via del Giglio 8) is a great spot for many other traditional, as well as ethnic foods.