by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Robert Hellenga at the British Institute

At the British Institute today, I met up with my friend Lisa to see Robert Hellenga who was reading from his new book The Italian Lover. Lisa told me about the event and lent me his book to read last week, so I was looking forward to see him. While I walked to the British Institute, the sun was shining brightly and the hope of spring was in the air.

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Living in Florence :: Beauty all around

I sometimes see things that I fine beautiful and I wish I had my macchina fotografica (camera) with me. For a few days I've been running past this brick wall near my house right before the Ponte alle Grazie, and I've seen these metal boxes with the city's giglio (lily). I went back out later today and knelt down to take a photo of it. I loved the colors of the imperfect bricks, the door being on sideways, and the moss growing out of the wall.

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Living in Florence :: Fiorentina soccer match donates proceeds to Aquila

Alessandro and I weren't planning on going to yesterday's partita (soccer match) between the Fiorentina and Cagliari. However, when they announced that the proceeds would be donated to the people of Aquila after the devastating terremoto (earthquake), I ran out to buy tickets straightaway. Normally Alessandro buys the tickets for us, but he told me where to go to get them in Piazza della Repubblica, so I decided to walk over myself on Friday.

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Living in Florence :: Museo Stefano Bardini

Last week while I was working at my desk, I saw out of the corner of my eye a long blue banner being placed on the side of a building. The sign said Museo Stefano Bardini. I stopped working immediately and searched the Internet to find more information about when it would open to the public. I had read that the museo (museum) was going to open this year, and had planned on going as soon as it opened. And today, only six days after it officially opened, was my chance to visit it.

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Today the second article in my "Expat Profiles" series just came out in the latest issue of The Florentine. I have talked to a few friends and fellow expats since the first article appeared, and the response has been positive. Many people, like me, are interested in hearing about how people made their way to Florence.

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On my run the other day, a thick fog blanketed the city and when I ran over Ponte Vecchio, I couldn't even see the top of the Duomo. The city seemed different to me, but it forced me to look at the buildings that were closer to me instead of what was out in the distance. I couldn't see the hills around the city or even Piazzale Michelangiolo. Today, however, everything was different: the sun was shining brightly above the hills to the east and I could see all around me and even hills and monuments in the distance.

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I hadn't been to the Teatro Verdi on via dei Benci in about 10 years when I went to see Stomp. Alessandro had talked about wanting to to go the teatro (theatre) to see Enrico Brignano, an Italian comico (comedian). I finally stopped off at the box office earlier this week to buy tickets. As I expected, there were only a few tickets left, but we ended up getting two seats together.

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I was walking around my neighborhood the other day and was overcome with joy. Tears filled my eyes as I stood behind the San Remigio chiesa (church) looking at the buildings that surrounded me. I wanted to reach out and embrace the chiesa, the buildings, and any person who walked by. I felt a wave of appreciation come over me: I am fortunate to be living in Florence and have been so blessed to receive its many wondrous gifts. Not only does it offer us its beauty and share with us its accomplishments, but it is also not afraid to show us its upleasant side that other cities might try to hide. I was enjoying the sight of paint peeling off of buildings, a cracked fašade revealing the bricks underneath, the uneven stones that I was standing on, and even the windows' wood frames warped by the harsh elements.

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Living in Florence :: Four statue salute

My friend Erin asked me the other day if I wanted to participate in a 10K run around Florence on May 10th called Guarda Firenze. I was happy she invited me to go with her because it inspired me to start running again. I had stopped for a little while because I found it too cold at times for me in the morning. Yesterday was the second time this week that I went out for my morning run and decided to push myself back to my usual distance even though it had been a long time since I went running.

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Last month I spoke with Alexandra, the editor of The Florentine, to ask her if she'd be interested in a series of interviews I wanted to do about the English-speaking expats living in Florence. I am always interested in why someone else would choose Florence as their home, so I thought it'd be interesting to have a series about the paths that people took to get here and what they're doing in their lives. Many people who read my blog people ask me what kinds of jobs are available here and my response is always the same. "Whatever you're interested in or want to do, you can do here. You just have to be creative." And each of the five expats that I've interviewed so far have confirmed that.

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Most people would probably want to avoid doing to the Agenzie delle Entrate (Italian Revenue Office), but I couldn't wait to go. Thankfully this morning it was sunny after a rainy day yesterday. I jumped on my bicicletta (bicycle) and headed to Piazza Indipendenza. As I was riding down via dei Servi, I noticed that there was a mercato (market) in Piazza Santissima Annunziata where I used to live. It was so busy with people walking around the bancarelle (stands) at 10am that I had to walk my bicicletta through the piazza.

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Living in Florence :: A full day at the stadio

After yesterday's chilly weather, I was thrilled this morning when I saw the clear blue sky from our apartment windows. One of Alessandro's friends, Gianluca, had asked me if I wanted to go to the stadio (stadium) to watch the Fiorentina play for free if I would volunteer for the Fondazione Tomasello (Tomasello Foundation) to distribute uova di Pasqua (Easter eggs). The money received will be spent on research for genetic diseases for the young boy after whom the fondazione is named as well as other children who are afflicted with Mitochondrial diseases.

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A few days before spring officially begins and I'm truly excited. I love it when we are on the verge of a new season. I love how the weather is quirky: the sun also teases us with its warm afternoon rays, but then quickly disappears so we are left unprepared for the brisk evenings. Each morning I open up the persiane (shutters) and don't know if it's going to be sunny, cloudy, or rainy. I look out at the Arno and smile because it is so beautiful right now. When it rains a lot, the Arno becomes a muddy brown and in the summer it turns a murky green, but at this time of year it is an emerald green that shimmers in the light. It seems to be happy too.

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Living in Florence :: Enjoying my visit of Taste

For the last couple of years, I have been wanting to go to Taste: the fair of tastes. My friend Sarah and I rode our biciclette (bikes) down the relatively quiet streets to Stazione Leopolda, which is near the Porta al Prato. When we arrived, we parked our biciclette along the metal fence. We had planned on arriving right when the fiera (expo) opened, but the lines to get in were already long and the salone (hall) was full of people. I was attracted to the back wall of the main salone where there were multi-colored plates attached to it as shown in the picture.

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