by Melinda Gallo

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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Living in Florence :: Primo maggio in the mountains

I love Florence so much that sometimes I don't even want to leave it. I was happy however when my suoceri (in-laws) asked me out to lunch for primo maggio (May 1st, which is Labor Day in Italy) to the same osteria (restaurant) we went to in Castagno d'Andrea for Easter. When we went there just about five weeks ago, it was snowing so I was hoping for clear skies and warmer weather. Unfortunately, it was raining when we left, but after lunch, the sky cleared and we all went for a walk.

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Last Saturday, I received a phone call from the woman at the comune (city hall) who is working on transcribing our marriage. She told me that the Consolato italiano (Italian consulate) had put the date of my divorce as my date of birth, including the year. To rectify it, she asked me to come by on Tuesday to sign a document stating the change to be made to our atto di matrimonio (marriage certificate).

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Living in Florence :: Rainy trip to Siena

After numerous sunny days in Florence, I thought for sure that the sun would be shining for my day trip to Siena today. But, this morning I woke up to the sound of rain. I admit I was a little disappointed, but not much would prevent me from visiting Siena as it's one of my favorite Tuscan cities to visit.

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A dear friend of mine told me last year that I could ordinare una messa (order a mass) for my parents who had passed away a few years ago. She told me that there were two churches that allow people to ordinare una messa for the defunti (deceased). The first one, Santissima Annunziata, was right next to where I used to live last year. I went there at least ten times, but could never get the attention of anyone who worked there. The idea faded in my mind and then last week it came back, and I decided to do something about it.

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Today I went to the Mostra internazionale dell'Artigianato with a new girlfriend of mine. I love artigianato (handicrafts), which is the slogan for this year's mostra (show). I am always amazed by the beautiful objects that these artists create and share with the world. I look forward to this mostra every year.

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This morning I was sitting in Piazza Strozzi waiting for a good friend of mine so we could have a coffee. The sun was out, but I was sitting in the shade on the cement lip of the palazzo. The weather has been warming up, and at 10 this morning I was comfortable sitting outside. I began to write in my notebook while I was waiting and a zingara (gypsy) carrying a baby came to ask me for money. "Per favore, una monetina. (Please, a coin.)" I ignored her and kept writing. I pretended that she wasn't there and after a few tries, she stopped addressing me and just sat down about a foot away from me.

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Living in Florence :: Chiesa di Ognissanti

This morning I had to go to the Azienda USL di Firenze, which is Florence's healthcare office, to renew my healthcare tessera (card). The tessera allows me to get free healthcare in Italy, but mine expired last year with my previous permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay). A friend of mine had to come as well to sign up and get her tessera, so we decided to go together and turn it into something fun and interesting to do.

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