by Melinda Gallo

Recently I was interviewed by Marco de la Pierre from DotFlorence, and the result has just been published today. I had the questions in Italian and responded in both Italian and English. Usually I do the interviewing, so it was interesting for me to see what questions were asked of me. I was flattered to be asked by Marco, and am very happy with the result. I was especially pleased to be called a ragazza (girl) and also a new fiorentina (Florentine)!

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Living in Florence :: A stroll in Giardino Bardini

Itís a cold and sunny morning today and I had this great desire to go out to see my beloved city. I had thought initially about going to the Piazzale Michelangiolo, but decided against it because it can be too busy with tourists and wedding parties taking foto (photos). I suddenly thought about going to Giardino Bardini because of its quietness. I can see a part of it from our apartment and I saw that the hillsides are now green even though many of the trees still donít have leaves.

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Living in Florence :: Visiting Museo Orsanmichele

I had been wanting to visit the Orsanmichele museo (museum) since I returned from my trip to the US. Normally my Mondays are busy with things I need to do to start the week. Fortunately today was the first Monday I had time to to visit the museo of my favorite chiesa (church). I was even more fortunate because the sun was peeking out of the clouds this morning. The chiesa is in a tall building, which used to be a granaio (granary) and consists of three levels: the chiesa on the ground floor, the museo where all the original statues are housed on the middle floor, and a large room at the top that offers a 360į panorama of the city.

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Only a couple of times a year the city organizes days when they shut down the centro (city center) to traffic. From our apartment, not a single macchina (car) or motorino (scooter) drives by. I can hear the water flowing down the embankment, the campane (bells) of the chiesa (church) chiming on the hour, and the birds chirping in the trees across the piazza. It is a joy to wake up to such peacefulness and still be in the centro.

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Living in Florence :: Appreciating the beauty of my beloved city

Love is not something I place in my pocket and forget about. Love is a feeling I cultivate, enjoy, give, receive, share, and appreciate. Thatís why I donít sit back and wait for my beloved city to please me. I seek Florenceís beauty everywhere, praise it and appreciate it. Last night as the sun was setting, I felt a great desire to go out and take some pictures. With my new obiettivo (lens), I hadnít tried to take any night shots. The light outside looked so delightful that I couldnít wait to get out.

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Living in Florence :: Enjoying the city and its statues

Today I was in the need to do something to bring me a little joy. When I was thinking of what to do, the Bargello came to my mind. I had been wanting to go for a visit ever since I returned from the US earlier this month. Itís a place I enjoy even if I only walk by and peek into the windows. I walked in this morning and sat down to contemplate the marble and bronze statues, which are my favorites.

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A lot of my friends donít understand my love for the Fiorentina, Florenceís squadra di calcio (soccer team). I was never a big tifosa (fan) of any squadra before even though I have always loved calcio (soccer). I used to only watch the big partite di calcio (soccer matches), like the World Cup. But since Iíve been in Florence, my love for calcio and especially the Fiorentina has grown greatly. Yesterday, I finally got to go to a home partita and felt such great joy to be there to cheer on my squadra with thousands of other tifosi in the Curva Fiesole.

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Living in Florence :: Making time

Ever since I have returned to Florence, Iíve been so busy that i havenít had much time to enjoy my beloved city. Besides the work that piled up in my absence, I had articles to write, interviews to do, and other projects to work on. I havenít even had much time to visit with my friends either these past few days. Today, however, I finally made some time to walk around a bit and take a couple of foto (photos) before meeting up with a friend for a caffŤ (coffee).

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Living in Florence :: Strolling the streets

For the first day this week I have finally found time to walk around Florence. I had no plans when I left our apartment and found myself going in many directions. I love strolling the streets and just seeing where my heart leads me. I had my macchina fotografica (camera) in hand equipped with my new obiettivo (lens) that I bought in the US on my last trip. I not only wanted to try it out, but I also wanted to see what my beloved city would look like.

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I just got back from my trip to California. This last trip was probably one of my most memorable because of all the people--both old and new--that I connected with. The first thing I did when I got home today was look out our window to see the Arno. Alessandro told me that it had rained a lot while I was gone, but the level of the water wasnít that high and the color of the water was a cool green.

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Tomorrow I take off for California for a couple of weeks. Iíve been a little sad to leave my city lately, but I am happy to see many people I havenít seen in a long time. The timing around my viaggio (trip) is to surprise my niece for her 11th birthday. I havenít seen her since Alessandro and I were out in California in October 2007. The saddest part about my trip is that my marito (husband) is staying behind in Florence. I love it when he comes with me because heís my favorite piece of the city that I love.

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Life is full of wonderful surprises. One thing I love about living in Florence is that I see people I know and we stop to chat. There is a shop that sells all the Fiorentina paraphenalia in via del Corso where I go once in a while. Over the past few years, Iíve bought gifts for others and myself. In that time, Iíve come to know the two guys who run the shop, Simone and Claudio. We talk about the partite (games) and the calciatori (soccer players) when we meet up. Today while I was talking to Claudio, Simone ran in and said, ďFelipe sta arrivando. Prepara una maglia da firmare. (Felipe is coming. Get a jersey ready for him to sign.)Ē

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On Monday morning after having a coffee with a friend, I popped into Museo Stefano Bardini. Iíve been wanting to go back since I first went last year after it reopened. When I walked by and saw that it was open I couldnít resist not going for a visit. I learned that the museo (museum) is only open a few days a week: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

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This morning I was unable to get motivated while sitting in front of my computer so I decided to go to the Uffizi. Iíve been wanting to go back ever since I purchased my Amici degli Uffizi (Friends of the Uffizi) annual tessera (card) last week. The woman who was working in the office asked me if I was able to visit all the museums last year. I realized that I had been to most of them, but not the Uffizi. Even though I walk past it almost every day, I shy away from going sometimes because either there are large crowds to content with or there is just so much to see.

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Today is a big day: the end of the holiday season and the beginning of the saldi (sales). The Italians say, "Con l'Epifania tutte le feste vanno via. With the Epiphany, all the holidays go away." Epifania is the last festa (holiday) until Pasqua (Easter). In Florence, the day after the Epifania marks the start of the saldi. I noticed yesterday that a few of the shops were closed, but some of the ones that were open were already offering unadvertised saldi.

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