Fennel has been the official herb of Florence for centuries. Dedicated to the patron saint of the city, John the Baptist, fennel was given to invalids for strength and to underweight people for extra poundage. Mixed with honey, fennel is guaranteed to cure bites from hungry mad dogs.
Source: Holler, Anne. Florencewalks: Four Intimate Walking Tours of Florence’s Most Historic and Enchanting Neighborhoods (Kindle Locations 250-252). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition.