by Melinda Gallo

After the new leggi (laws) that passed this summer, I've had to find a new place to park my bicicletta (bicycle). Initially, I parked it on a side street where vigili (police officers) left a note saying that I had to move it or else it would be rimossa (removed) by them. I then found a palo (pole) on the corner of my street that sometimes has biciclette locked to it that was available. I locked my bicicletta to it and thought that I had found the perfect spot.

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Living in Florence :: Parco Regionale della Maremma

This morning we left for the Parco Regionale della Maremma (or Parco dell'Uccellina) early this morning, but not before we grabbed a caffè at one of my favorite pasticcerie (pastry shops) on the outskirts of centro (downtown area). We drove south toward Grosseto and arrived only a few minutes before the bus left to take the visitatori (visitors) inside of the parco (park) where many trails begin. Almost everyone else was dressed in hiking gear while we were only in jeans and tennis shoes. When Alessandro told me that we'd be going to a parco for a passeggiata (walk), I had assumed something low-key and relaxing.

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Living in Florence :: Fiera della ceramica

I met one of my friends for a coffee this morning. Because we were close to Piazza Santa Croce, we ran through the mercato (market) that was being held there. After we perused the bancarelle (stands), we decided to go to Piazza Santissima Annunziata to visit the Fiera della ceramica. I have always loved ceramiche (pottery), and anytime the fiera (fair) is in the piazza I go to it without any hesitation.

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Alessandro came back today with two castagne (chestnuts) in his pocket. When he placed them on the table, I asked, "Cosa fai con due castagne? What are you doing with two chestnuts?" I held the two small, raw castagne in my hand as he explained. "Un mio collega mi ha detto che se tengo queste due castagne, non mi ammalerò. One of my colleagues said that if I keep these two chestnuts, I won't be sick."

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Instead of leaving the house at 6:30 am with Alessandro to go running, I went out alone at 7:45 am. I didn't think there would be a big difference only an hour later, but there was. The first thing I noticed was the amount of people outside. The minute I left our piazza, I had to run past a fermata dell'autobus (bus stop) where school children were getting off the bus. I had to stop running and say, "Permesso (Excuse me)" at least four or five times to get by.

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Living in Florence :: Corri la Vita

The last thing I thought I would be doing was running alone in the Corri la Vita walkathon/marathon. Alessandro and I had signed up a few days ago, but after our long run yesterday we decided not to go. I woke up early today and put on my running gear including the race's maglietta (T-shirt), donated by Salvatore Ferragamo, and walked to Piazza Santa Croce. I wanted to go so that I could pick up the pacchi gara (competitor's gift packages), exchange Alessandro's maglietta for a larger one, and take some pictures of the event because I had never participated before.

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This morning we somehow made it out the door a little after 6:15 am. The air was cool in the early before the sun rises, so I prepared myself for the low temperatures and put on my sweats, wool cap, and gloves. The streets were even quieter than they were during the week. There was a light breeze that nudged us along the lungarno (street along the Arno river). I looked down at the fiume (river) and the water wasn't as still as it was the last two times we went running this week. The reflection of the buildings in San Niccolò on the Arno looked more like an impressionist painting.

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I was ecstatic when I received a large white envelope from California with my voting materials on Wednesday. Alessandro was shocked that it was so thick because he thought I'd only be voting for the president of the United States. I explained to him that each state includes other propositions in my state as well as other local offices in the county where I am registered.

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At 6:30am, we were in the piazza below our apartment about to run along the Arno. When we reached the fiume (river), I could see the dark outline of the Tuscan hills that we were running toward. The sun had still not come up, so a sliver of yellow light behind the hills was making the hills stand out even more. I glanced at the Arno to our left and it was shimmering in dark shades of blue.

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After an entire week of wearing summer clothes in less than summer weather, I gave up hope today that the weather might warm back up. It rained a few times this last week, but mostly the weather has been sunny and much cooler. When I woke up this morning, I decided to switch the clothes in my armadio (closet) from summer ones to winter ones. Because our apartamento (apartment) is rather small and storage space is limited, we have to switch the clothes in our armadio when there is a change of season: there's no fitting all our clothes together.

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Living in Florence :: Impressionismo a Palazzo Strozzi

Today my girlfriend and I visited Palazzo Strozzi's current mostra (exhibition), Impressionismo: dipingere la luce (Impressionists: Painting Light). I have been impressed with all the mostre that I've attended at Palazzo Strozzi, so when a new one arrives I usually plan a visit as soon as I can. After going to two mostre, I've understood that the Palazzo Strozzi is not only successful in presenting the artwork, but also in communicating intriguing information about it.

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Living in Florence :: Biblioteca delle Oblate

Today I finally made it to the Biblioteca delle Oblate. A friend of mine wanted to show me the biblioteca (library) because I hadn't yet been. She raved to me about it, which only made me want to go even more. This morning we met up at a bar to have a caffè (coffee) and walked to the biblioteca together under the sunny, but cloudy sky.

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After my pranzo (lunch) with my suoceri (in-laws), it was time for the Fiorentina to play their Sunday partita (game). Two friends of my suocero (father-in-law) came over to watch it with us. I sat at the end of the (couch) with my suocero and his friends while Alessandro sat on a chair next to me. His mother stayed in the cucina (kitchen) to watch something else.

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This morning was like any other morning this week: a bright sun high above a clear, blue sky accompanied by heavy, humid air. I had to shut my windows earlier this afternoon because of the heat wafting in from the outside. At around 5pm, I saw grey clouds looming behind the hills of the city. A bolt of lightning struck behind the low hills in San Niccolò that caught my eye. And shortly after, it began to rain. When I opened the window again, the temperatures had dropped many degrees. I had to shut the window immediately because it was cold.

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