by Melinda Gallo

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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Living in Florence :: Giardino dell'Iris

On this sunny morning, I decided that I had to go to the Giardino dell'Iris (Iris Garden). I know that tomorrow is the last day and I'm afraid that the weather will change and then it won't be as pleasant. I asked Erin to join me after we had our colazione (breakfast) at Caffè Giacosa. We walked across the Ponte Vecchio, along via Bardi up the rampe in Piazza Poggi in the San Niccolò area and arrived at Piazzale Michelangiolo. We could see the Giardino dell'Iris from the street, but didn't know how to get in until we got to the top of the piazzale where we saw the entrance.

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Living in Florence :: Festa al Franchi

I have gone to the stadio (stadium) Franchi a few times to watch the Fiorentina play. I love the excitement and the energy of the partite (games). This afternoon the Fiorentina won their final game of the season against Torino and made it into the top four of the Italian championships, which allows them to play in the preliminaries for the Champion's League. Normally many of the tifosi (soccer fans) go to the airport to greet the squadra (team), but tonight they also opened up the stadio to over 30,000 tifosi and we could welcome our team back to Florence.

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Living in Florence :: Trying out a new camera

I have been wanting to buy a new macchina fotografica (camera) for a while. I love taking pictures of all that I love and sometimes I haven't been happy with what my macchina fotografica produces. My friend Brian told me that he'd loan me his Nikon D80 for a few days while he's not using it.

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I don't go to the mercato di Sant'Ambrogio as much as I'd like to. Instead of going three or four times a week, I walk there maybe once a week instead. And sometimes instead of going there I go to the mercato centrale for fish. Out of convenience, I shop along via dei Neri where I have my ortolano (green grocer), forno (bakery), and macellaio (butcher).

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Living in Florence :: Corridoio Vasariano

I had been wanting to visit the Corridoio Vasariano for a long time. The problem was that to make a reservation and visit the Vasari Corridor there is a minimum of 10 people. When my friend Sarah mentioned that she was getting a group of people together along with her parents who are visiting Florence, I was so happy that Alessandro and I could join her group.

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Living in Florence :: Day trip to Lucca

My girlfriend and I decided to take a day trip to Lucca yesterday. With such wonderful weather we've been having, I couldn't wait for our trip to Lucca. The last time I visited Lucca was almost three years ago and I remembered how much I liked it. I enjoy taking day trips in the spring because there seem to be fewer tourists. The streets in Florence were rather busy yesterday morning when we left, but I don't notice the crowds that much until I'm a part of them.

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Living in Florence :: Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici

Today I made my way through the busy piazze to go to the Mercato Centrale (Central Market) in San Lorenzo. I miss going to my mercato in Sant'Ambrogio, but because there's only one pescivendolo (fish stand), I prefer to go to the Mercato Centrale to buy fish. I like to browse the multiple pescivendoli because I appreciate the choice that is available to me.

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