by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Festa di San Giovanni e i fuochi

Today was a festa (holiday) only in Florence. It was the festa di San Giovanni Battista (Saint John the Baptist day), which is the patrono di Firenze (Florence's patron saint). I love how each city has its own saint and by extension its own festa. To celebrate, we went to see the fuochi d'artificio (fireworks) that went off under the Piazzale Michelangiolo.

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When my suocera (mother-in-law) called me yesterday to tell me that they won't be home on Sunday for lunch, I was disappointed. Not only was I not going to have lunch with them, but I wasn't going to have my weekly visit with them either. I look forward to our Sunday lunches together with such pleasure that I never make any plans that would prevent me from going.

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Living in Florence :: Arrivata di botto

It's hard to believe that just one week ago, I was carting around an ombrello (umbrella) in my purse and wearing a sweater. Today, estate arrivata di botto (summer suddenly arrived). Not only is it sunny and hot, but it's also humid. I left the house early this morning to fare delle commissioni (run a few errands) before the city heated up.

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As I was walking around San Frediano yesterday to get to my new favorite restaurant, Pandemonio, I was amazed at how different it is from the areas that I usually go to. San Frediano has a beauty all its own that I had forgotten about. I felt almost guilty for neglecting this part of the city and for not appreciating it. I'm certain that it's fairly normal for us to walk the same streets all the time and to stick to the places we're familiar with. However, Florence is a small enough city where venturing out a little bit from our beaten paths wouldn't require that much effort, and the rewards make it well worth it.

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My girlfriend Diana and I decided to meet up for lunch today. I was secretly hoping that we would go to a new place instead of one of our favorites. I often go to many of the same restaurants because I hate it when I go to a new place and am disappointed. I was happy when Diana suggested Pandemonio because I had heard of it, but had never gone before. After having eaten there once, I might not go anywhere else.

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Yesterday I was at my in-law's house for Sunday lunch and I remembered that I forgot to bring a pair of Alessandro's pants to get a button put back on. His mother is a sarta (seamstress) and he thought it'd be best if she did it because she has all the aghi (needles) and filo (thread). I had plans of returning during the week to drop off his pants, but his mom said that she'd give me what I need to sew the button onto his pants instead.

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After the calcio storico yesterday evening and a hot shower to warm up, I was back out the door to meet my friend Erin at Ponte Vecchio. When I saw a manifesto (poster) advertising Cats in the Giardino di Boboli (Boboli Gardens), I couldn't wait to go. I had never seen this musical and finally my chance had come. All the way to Florence.

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Living in Florence :: Calcio storico in Piazza Santa Croce

This morning, the sun peeked out behind the dark clouds for just a brief moment and then it began to rain. All I could think of was the partita (game) of calcio storico that we were going to see later in the afternoon. For a few days, the weather has been fairly nice in the morning and then the rain would break out in the early evening. Then, for two days we had no rain at all. And today it began to rain in the morning so I feared the worst for the partita, but luckily the sky cleared up.

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One of the things I enjoy about living in Florence is that if I ever run into an acquaintance in the street I'm certain that he or she will greet me. In the ten months that we've lived in this neighborhood, I have met the people who work in the different shops especially at the macelleria (butcher shop), the two forni (bakeries), the two fruttivendoli (greengrocers), and the mesticheria (household goods/hardware store) on via dei Neri.

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A few friends had told me about their experiences taking the bus that were similar to mine today. I had believed them because I trust my friends, but I always thought it was so unbelievable that it couldn't possibly be true. It wasn't until today did I find out that sometimes the autista dell'autobus (bus driver) strays off course and takes a different route.

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Living in Florence :: A remnant of the Festa della Repubblica

I had heard that the Camera di Commercio (Chamber of Commerce) had green and red lights on it that could be seen from across the Arno. Because our apartment is to the left of the building, I can't see the side that faces the Arno. Every night this week I told myself that I'd go out to see it. After going out with a few girlfriends for an aperitivo tonight, I finally had a chance to walk up to the front of the Camera di Commercio and look at the lights for myself.

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Living in Florence :: Festa della Repubblica

Holidays in Italy are generally my favorite days when it comes to living in centro (downtown). The city wakes up later, fewer cars and motorini (scooters) whiz by in the street, less noise enters from the open windows, and the streets are deserted. When Alessandro and I went out for our run this morning, I certainly noticed the difference between a normal weekday and a holiday like today. It felt like the entire city was still asleep or that almost everyone was gone for the day.

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Living in Florence :: Giardino delle Rose

Yesterday morning after our run, the rain began to pour again. I told myself that when the sun comes back out or at least when it stops raining, I was going to go to the Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden). I had read that it was not going to be open for much longer and I didn't want to miss it. I had walked in briefly after going to the Giardino dell'Iris (Iris Garden) a little over a week ago, but I wasn't ready to see more flowers at that time.

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After we returned last night from the mostra (exhibition), another storm broke out accompanied by thunder and lightning. This morning when we left the piazza in front of our apartment for a run, I looked down the Arno and toward the Ponte Vecchio and noticed the dark fluffy clouds slowly moving overhead. The colors seemed electric and the buildings looked even more beautiful in contrast to the sky. My only wish was that I had brought my macchina fotografica (camera) to capture such beauty.

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Living in Florence :: Cina: alla Corte degli imperatori

Alessandro and I had planned on going to the Cina: alla Corte degli imperatori (China: at the Court of the Emperors) mostra (exhibition) since it opened this March. We decided on seeing the mostra tonight because it was open until 11pm. Even though the weather changed drastically and was raining most of the afternoon, we risked the walk to Palazzo Strozzi even after a brief storm broke out with thunder and lightning before we left the house.

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