by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Nowhere to park my bike

Not only is it illegal to park my bicicletta (bicycle) around any monumento (monument), but it's also illegal to park it behind or on the side of the rastrelliera (bike rack). It's bad enough that I could get a multa (fine) of up to 200 Euros, but what's worse is that they could tow it away like I saw them do in San Niccolò this weekend. I watched a man cut the catene (chains) with a pair of large shears and place the biciclette on the carro attrezzi (tow truck).

Read More

I don't think you have to be in Florence long to realize what a pest the zanzare (mosquitoes) are. If you're here for any period of time in the summer, you quickly realize that they can be quite ferocious. The longer you're here, the more you realize you have to buy a plethora of products to keep them away as well as to find relief once you've been bitten.

Read More

I woke up to the rumblings of thunder this morning. For ferragosto (mid-August holiday), it was the most unexpected weather. Normally, it's a hot and sunny day like the past few we've had. It's the holiday many people who aren't going away for August look forward to. Everything is closed, the locals have left, and a blanket of quiet covers the city. The streets were certainly peaceful this morning, but the sound of a storm loomed close by.

Read More

I never realize how set I am in my ways until I am forced to go to a new negozio da parrucchiere/parrucchiere (hair salon). My usual parrucchiere (male hairdresser) is on holiday, the one closest to my apartment is also closed, and so I had no choice but to find a new parrucchiere. I talked to a few of the ones that I'd seen in centro (downtown), but only one that I liked was open on the day before Ferragosto (mid-August holiday). I don't blame them for wanting to get a head-start on the festa (holiday) since the city has emptied out quite a bit.

Read More

I moved my bicicletta (bicycle) from the chains that surround the monument in my piazza to a side street near our apartment. Because of the new leggi (laws) that they passed not long ago, I felt that it'd be better to move my bicicletta from the well-lit piazza because I might have gotten a multa (fine) otherwise. When I walked by my bicicletta yesterday, I noticed that someone had removed the sella (seat). I used to also look at it every time I was at the window, but now my bicicletta is out of eyeshot.

Read More

Because I can get a good gelato (ice cream) any time I want in Florence, I tend to rarely go and eat one. In the summer, I generally get one when I'm walking around after dinner outside or with friends who come to Florence for a visit. Almost everyone who comes to visit always want to have a gelato and a cappuccino, but not in that order. I don't blame them. They are two of my favorite things to eat in Italy. And, today I was fortunate enough to have a cappuccino and two gelati (ice creams).

Read More

At the beginning of August, I always find myself feeling a bit melancholy. Sometimes I try not to let the sadness in my heart come out, but sometimes it gets the best of me. My mother's birthday was today, my grandmother's (my mother's mother) was yesterday, and my dad's birthday was Friday. They are days that I used to celebrate with them, but now that they're gone, I find them to be the most unbearable days of the year for me.

Read More

Living in Florence :: Cappelle Medicee

This morning a little before 8am, I was on my way to the Mercato Centrale near San Lorenzo so that I could get some fresh pesce (fish) and I decided to visit the Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels). I walked past the Cappelle Mediceeand read that it opened at 8:15 am. I walked to a pasticceria (pastry shop), Pasticceria Sieni, where I had a cappuccino and a warm sfoglia con crema (puff pastry with cream). I find their sfoglie to be the best in Florence because they are cooked in such a way that the sugar on the outside is perfectly caramelized.

Read More

Living in Florence :: I Grandi Bronzi del Battistero

I'm almost embarrassed to say that my last visit to my favorite museum, Museo del Bargello, was over two and a half years ago. I walk by the museo (museum) often and I had hoped to go back more often, but I just haven't had a chance. There are so many other things that I want to see in centro (downtown) and sometimes I get busy with work, seeing my friends or visiting new exhibitions that I don't have the time to visit my favorite monumenti (monuments) and musei. It's easy to put things off when things are so accessible, but I try to set aside time when I can for my cultural visits in Florence.

Read More

August is the month when almost everyone takes off on vacanza (vacation) usually either before or after Ferragosto (August 15th). Because so many of my amici are going away at some time during the month of August, there is a mad rush to see everyone before they leave.

Read More

Living in Florence :: Un anno sull'Arno

Today marks the one year anniversary of our living in our apartment sull'Arno (along the Arno). Not only did we move into this apartment, but we also moved in together for the first time. We have both been loving our apartment sull'Arno. Alessandro wasn't convinced on living in centro (downtown) at first because he thought it would be too loud and crazt. I was happy when I overheard him telling his friends the other night that he loved living in centro.

Read More

A few new leggi (laws) were approved by the giunta (committee) last week that affect a lot of people, including myself. It seems that the new leggi were also approved by the consiglio comunale (town council) and have supposedly taken effect.

Read More

Living in Florence :: Prima partita della Fiorentina

I had been waiting for today's partita (soccer match) for weeks. I'd look at the tickets every few days and count the days until the big day. I heard on the radio this morning that the partita was sold out and that there would be 40,000 tifosi (soccer fans) attending Fiorentina's first home partita against Barcelona. It was a partita amichevole (friendly match), but I couldn't wait to see all the new giocatori (players) like Gilardino, Jovetic, and Melo, and some of the old ones like Frey, Pazzini, Mutu, and Donadel.

Read More

Even when I first arrived in Florence, I knew it was a small city. I'd see the same people in a day or meet someone who was already friends with someone else I knew. Nothing really surprises me any more when it comes to meeting or seeing people. Ever since we moved into our apartment, I've had an inkling that I knew the man who lives on the first floor of my building. Today, I finally talked with him and found out that I had worked for him back in 1999 when I was living in Florence the first time.

Read More

Living in Florence :: Visiting Florence with George

Today is the first time this year that someone has come to Florence to see me and to tour my beloved city. Usually someone in my family comes out for a visit, but this year no one has. My friend George emailed me a few weeks ago to tell me that he was coming to work in Milan for a week. He decided to come down for a quick visit of Florence because he had never been here and because we haven't seen each other in a year. We met at a conference for work many years ago when I was living in California and then he hired me to work on his company website. While we were working together, we began opening up to each other and we have since become good friends.

Read More