by Melinda Gallo

Today I celebrate six years of living in Florence and writing my blog. For the last couple of months, I have thought about this day and what it means to me. Not just a marker for the time passed in Florence, but also a reminder of how my life in Florence and my blog have both been great experiences for me. Six years ago when I returned to Florence, I had no idea where my journey would lead me. I started out my new life in Florence the way I did my blog: I promised myself to keep my mind open, to have new experiences, to not fall back on stereotypes, and to not judge others.

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Living in Florence :: David in front of the Duomo

Yesterday the city kicked off Florens 2010, one week of cultural events with Florence as the centerpiece. I was sorry to have missed the placing of the replica of David in front of the Duomo with a gru (crane) yesterday. I saw a photo of it suspended in air and thought how amazing that sight would have been. Instead, I waited until this morning after they laid real grass in Piazza di Giovanni around the Battistero before making my way to the Duomo.

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After four days of rainy days, the sun is finally out this morning. A few dark grey clouds scattered in the sky, but the sun is shining where it can. For the past few days, the sun has only peeked out a few times just to remind us that it is just behind the large blanket of clouds. The sky looked as if it turned color because the outlines of the clouds was virtually invisible.

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Living in Florence :: Enjoying the autumnal weather

I missed my morning run this morning due to the rain. The dark grey skies certainly didnít entice me to head out for a run. Because I had an appointment this morning in Santo Spirito, I was happy to stay in this morning. I knew that later I would be able to get some fresh air. While I sat at my computer, only an hour later, the rain subsided, which was a little upsetting because I really did want to go for a run.

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Living in Florence :: Enjoying the sun between rainy days

After a few days of rain, I felt joyous when I saw the sun out. It was perfect since I had a few appointments to go to. Even though my macchina fotografica (camera) is a little heavy, I lugged it along with me in the hopes of having the opportunity to take some photos. I hadnít taken any photos in over a week, and I really missed it.

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This morning when I woke up, I was surprised to hear such stillness in the air. The city streets below were empty with only a few cars passing by. I left the house before 9am this morning and was happy that the rain had stopped. I ran under the thick layer of grey clouds along the lungarno (road along the Arno river) away from the Ponte Vecchio.

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For Sunday lunch with my suoceri (in-laws), they surprised me with bruciate (roasted chestnuts). Itís one of natureís sweetest gifts in the autumn that I adore. I remember the first time I tried marroni (chestnuts) at one of the street vendors many years ago. I didnít particularly like them, and found them dry and peculiar tasting.

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I was a little nervous when a woman called me saying that she was from the prefettura (prefecture) earlier this week. Thereís only one reason someone would call me from the prefettura: my Italian cittadinanza (citizenship). I hoped that she had good news for me, but I knew that good news would only come in a letter.

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This morning when I left the house for my run, I looked up at the dim, but clear, sky and saw the sun peeking from behind a cloud in the distance. Since we still havenít set our clocks back, the sunrise is quite late. I peered at the gold outline around the tops of the clouds in the East.

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Living in Florence :: Blocks of marble from Massa

On my walk up the viale (large avenue) to Piazzale Michelangiolo this morning, I was happy to see more leaves of all different colors: brown, yellow, orange, and even red. I love seeing autumn at its peak. While I hiked up the viale, cars and motorini (scooters) passed me by in both directions and a few leaves fell from the trees quietly. I kicked up some of the leaves on the path even though the sidewalk was rather tidy.

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On the day that The Florentine publishes my ďExpats in FlorenceĒ article, I send the next one to the editors for the upcoming issue. I recently realized that todayís article is the thirtieth one published about an expat in Florence. It seems almost unbelievable to me since I feel like Iím just getting started. Since Florence is home to thousands of expats from around the world, I feel that I have so many more expats to meet and interview. I always love hearing how their lives have unfolded and led them to Florence. Even though we share the same city, our stories are always different.

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Living in Florence :: Sunday stroll to catch the sunset

Early this evening, Alessandro and I went out for a walk. I usually enjoy strolling the streets by myself so I can stop and take photos when I want, but being with someone else, especially my marito (husband) adds something to the experience for me. Because the streets were crowded with people on their Sunday walks, we initially decided to head away from the negozi (shops), and head toward Piazza della Signoria.

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Living in Florence :: A grey morning

This morning I had to walk to an appointment near Piazza Tasso. I was running a little late, but I didnít forget to bring my camera along with me. I had been wanting to take a few pictures from that part of town, but I can never plan what inspires me. After my appointment, I strolled along the Arno. With the grey sky above, I enjoyed my walk along the fiume (river), looking for something to take a photo of.

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When I was out this morning, I couldnít keep my eyes off of the Arno. I had seen the Adige in Verona last week and found it quite beautiful, but for me it didnít have the same charm that the Arno holds. Aesthetically, one would probably choose the Adige over the Arno. The clear, rushing water in the fiume (river) is enchanting. However, the beauty of the Arno lies not in its appearance, but in its personality.

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Living in Florence :: A few minutes to meander

I havenít had the time to just walk around Florence lately to see what changes have been occurring. Today, with only a half hour before lunch, I decided to walk along the Arno to take in my beloved city. Since autumn is one of my favorite seasons, I wanted to see how it has been progressing in Florence. I hadnít noticed many leaves on the trees turning color or leaves on the ground, although in the centro (city center) there are so few trees. Across the fiume (river), the trees still look rather green with all their leaves intact.

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