by Melinda Gallo

On this cool summer morning, I am excited to go out for a run. Sometimes I'm not as motivated as I'd like to be, but when I know I'm going to be running up to the Piazzale Michelangiolo, I feel almost giddy. I love how I can see David from Ponte alle Grazie and then make my way up the winding viale (tree-lined avenue) to finally see him looking out over the city.

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The results for the elezioni (elections) for the sindaco (mayor) of Florence came in, and there is no winner. For there to be a winner, someone has to receive 51% of the votes, and no one did. So now on June 21st there will be a ballottaggio (second ballott) where there will be only two candidates: Galli and Renzi. One center-right and the other center-left. Traditionally Florence is socialist; however, the results of the elezioni show a tendency to lean a little more to the right.

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After a friend talked to me about her quick experience with Jin Shin Do I was interested to learn more about it. She explained that it was a combination of acupressure and Reiki. I have studied Reiki a little bit and just recently took an introductory class on Chinese medicine that I enjoyed. I decided to go for a Jin Shin Do trattamento (treatment/session) last Thursday with the instructor and was amazed at how powerful it was. I couldn't wait to learn more at today's presentazione (presentation), and even invited a friend of mine, Giovanna, to join me who is a naturopata (naturopath).

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For the past few weeks all that anyone has been talking about around town are the elections. I have heard people complain about the state of the city: dirtier and less safe. Many of the people I know have anger simmering right below the surface because their treasure is not being taken care of as it should be. I do hope that there will be a change for the better because my beloved city needs someone who will love and respect it more. Someone who will resuscitate it for the residents to enjoy and cherish once again. Luckily many tourists still experience its beauty and aren't exposed to the less appealing sides of the city.

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The first day of June was accompanied by a constant drizzle. Outside the closed windows I could still hear birds chirping in the ivy attached to a window of a neighboring building. Many locals took today off as tomorrow is festa (a holiday). Some people I knew headed for the beach in the hopes of the first warm weekend al mare (at the seaside). However ever since last Wednesday, the temperatures have slowly declined and brought back the rain today.

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Living in Florence :: L'ultima partita della stagione

I had been looking forward to today's partita (soccer match) all week. Not only was it the Fiorentina's last game of the stagione (season), but also the last one for them to come in third place. Alessandro bought tickets for the partita in the Maratona section of the stadio (stadium). I was hoping to be in Curva Fiesole, but we could only get one spot so we opted on being together at the stadio and got seats elsewhere. Being a sold-out partita, we knew that it would also be one of the most exciting partite of the year.

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Living in Florence :: From one garden to another

For the past couple of days I have felt a desire to be around nature. I love the city with its stony roads, concrete buildings, marble fašades, and the ever-changing Arno. After visiting the city and its celebrated museums with my sister, I felt an almost physical need to go to the Giardino Bardini, just across the river from our place. Not only is it the closest giardini (gardens) to our apartment, but it's also the most serene one that I enjoy visiting on my own. I also find it quite picturesque, which is why I always go with my macchina fotografica (camera) in hand.

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When I was in a libreria (bookshop) near my house, a book named "Firenze in quattro stagioni" (Florence in Four Seasons) caught my eye. After reading only a few pages of the book, I searched the Internet for Paola Zannoner, the author, and wrote her an email. I asked her if it'd be possible to publish a couple of excerpts on my Florence from the Heart website. Her response was positive, and we decided to meet for a drink today.

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Living in Florence :: Handmade Weddings and Life

A few weeks ago, Silvia from Magnolia Wedding Planner contacted me through my blog to let me know that she was organizing a fiera (fair) called Handmade Weddings and Life. Shortly after hearing about the fiera, I found out that my friend Rebecca would also be one of the artigiani (artisans) to display her work. I thought my sister would enjoy it because when I was living in California before, we used to go to the Arts & Crafts fairs in our area.

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I have been a lover of crystals for many years, so when I heard about the Mostra dei Cristalli (Crystal Exhibition) I couldn't wait to go. I ended up waiting because the mostra (exhibition) opened in April and when I told my sister, she said she'd be interested in going. This morning we walked along the lungarno (street alongside the Arno) across the Ponte Vecchio, and down via Guicciardini. The sun was already heating up the air at this early time in the morning. We walked past Palazzo Pitti and down via Romana to Museo di Storia Naturale - La Specola where the mostra is on display.

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Living in Florence :: David is the symbol of the city of Florence

People from all over the world flock to see the statue of David at the Galleria dell'Accademia. Many walk slowly around him to study him from every angle while tour groups stop in front of him crowding around the front of the statue. "No photos please," one of the curators yells out at one of the numerous tourists who have tried to sneak a photo of David. Students with backpacks on their backs, flip-flops on their feet, and shirts from their universities shuffle past us while we sit in chairs in front of David. I wonder where someone can stand to best admire David, but really there's no one spot: he is a symbol of perfection from every angle.

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Living in Florence :: Bologna for the day

One of my sister's friends in California is originally from Bologna, so my sister went to visit her yesterday. Her friend asked that I come to Bologna for the day so that she could show off the best her city has to offer. My sister told her friend that we went a few years ago and weren't that enthusiastic about it. We had so-so food, and didn't find any good gelato (ice cream). Unfortunately, we didn't expect the city to shut down for lunch only because in Florence fewer and fewer of them do.

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For the Notturna di San Giovanni that will be held on June 20th, we have to either have a tessera FIDAL (FIDAL card) or a certificato medico (medical certificate) from a doctor to say that we are fit. Because my friend Erin and I want to keep our options open and possibly enter into other gare (races), we decided to get a tessera FIDAL for atletica leggera (track and field sports). There are a few ways to get one, but the easiest one I was told is to be a part of a sports association. Through Alessandro's work, all three of us signed up to get a tessera FIDAL, and today we had our visita medica per l'idoneitÓ agonistica (medical visit to see if we're fit for competitions).

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I'm happy to announce that Lisa McGarry has just published a new article on Florence from the Heart. Lisa's latest article is about Piazza della Signoria, which is a piazza that I walk through many times a week. I love how I feel as if I get to experience the piazza with Lisa. Not only does she point out some of the highlights, but also sprinkles in historical information that I find interesting.

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I was happy when my sister told me that she was coming to Florence for a week. I immediately started thinking about all the places I'd like to show her that I have discovered. I began making lists of places I want to show her and restaurants for us to eat at. The last time she was here was two years ago, and a few things have changed. There are new restaurants and shops for her to see. She knows Florence fairly well since she's come many times, but things change here and I'm excited to be her cicerone (guide).

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