by Melinda Gallo

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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I have met quite a few people in the last three years that I've been living in Florence, so it's more than normal that I see people I know and greet them when we cross paths. Although often when I walk down the street and look up at someone, we both do a discrete double-take and then politely greet each other. I don't let the other person know that I can't remember how or where we met, and I always wonder if the person remembers either.

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After weeks and weeks of indecisive weather, it seems that estate (summer) has finally arrived today. Wearing appropriate clothing each day these past few months has been a joke. I couldn't go far without an ombrello (umbrella) and a sweater or jacket in hand. Some days it was cold and rainy and other days cool and sunny.

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Living in Florence :: Photos of the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio

I am working on a new project for myself and I wanted to take some photos of the mercato di Sant'Ambrogio or as I call it, "il mio mercato (my market)." Because I go there often as a customer I wasn't sure if I should go to the Mercato Centrale (Central Market) to take pictures instead because no one knows me there. I didn't want to look like a tourist snapping photos at il mio mercato. I debated it for a few minutes, but then jumped on my bicicletta (bike) and went to the mercato di Sant'Ambrogio. I chose today since I generally never go to the mercato on Saturdays and I felt it'd be better for my pictures because the customers are more diverse.

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Living in Florence :: A jaunt to Montecatini Terme

As my two girlfriends and I sat in the treno (train) this morning, we had no expectations for our day trip to Montecatini Terme. I made a point of not reading too much before our trip. Erin did a lot of research for the trip looking for the perfect place to experience the terme (thermal baths) in Tuscany before Erin heads back to the US. Our train arrived to Montecatini centro and we jumped off ready for the adventure to begin.

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Living in Florence :: Festa Viola in via dei Neri

I was invited to the festa (party) in via dei Neri near our apartment by the man at the mesticheria (hardware shop) yesterday morning. "Spero di vederti domani! (I hope to see you tomorrow!)" he said as I walked away. Almost every shop along the street put up a bandiera (flag) for the Fiorentina soccer team and bandierine (small flags) were strung across the street between buildings about two meters up in the air, zigzagging all the way from via del Leone to via dei Benci. Ever since the big win on Sunday, the spirit of the Fiorentina tifosi (fans) has been amazing.

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It's a dark and rainy morning that we usually see in January and not in May. The weather has been unpredictable and not very enjoyable at this time of year. It's May and all I dream of is sunshine, blue skies and dry streets. Florence is beautiful no matter what, but the sun would be a welcomed bonus.

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