by Melinda Gallo

I read a post about how the woman in charge of Italian citizenships at my Italian Consulate in the US is no longer working there. I had just got a document that she requested a few weeks ago and sent it to her. I emailed her to ask her if she got it, and I didn't receive a response. I figured she might be on vacation, but not that she's no longer working there. Now that means that probably no one will be working on these files (mine and many others).

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Living in Florence :: Teatro Romano di Fiesole

Even though Dave and I are still working on this Italian holiday, Ferragosto (Assumption Day), we decided to fare un giro (take a trip) to Fiesole this afternoon. We haven't seen Luigi, Yoshie, and their two boys, Davide and Lorenzo, in months. Because Luigi is from Puglia, they usually go there for the summer, but they came back to Florence last Saturday.

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Living in Florence :: Cloisters of San Lorenzo

After a quick morning rainfall, the sky cleared a little and the sun shone brightly. The air was still cool outside when I walked to San Lorenzo this afternoon to meet a few friends for lunch. I walked down Borgo degli Albizi, in front of the Duomo, and down Borgo San Lorenzo to my destination.

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Tonight we had dinner with our friend Marco who is staying in Siena with his family for a few weeks. We haven't seen Marco since we went to Munich last November. He's been living there for almost a year now where he's learning German, which he said was quite complicated, and teaching Italian. We took him to a new restaurant, Osteria delle brache da Andrea, that one of my blog buddies, Rhonda, told me about during her visit here to Florence last month.

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I haven't written much about the mercato that I go to a few times every week because for a while everything remained the same. I kept going to my vendors, like the macellaio (butcher) and ortolana (fruit and vegetable vendor). But suddenly, many things have changed at the mercato and not just because it's summer.

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I have always loved mixing a fruit gelato, like mango, with a creamy gelato, like crema or fior di latte. When I go to the Gelateria dei Neri, that's what I generally get. I normally, however, never have a granita (a watery fruit sorbet) because I found them either too sweet or too slushy. And, the flavors that are usually available non mi fa gola (don't tempt me).

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Living in Florence :: Un bel giro a Siena

Today I went to Siena with a new friend I made through my blog, Samantha. She's in Italy for a few weeks and even though we hadn't met beforehand, we decided to go to Siena together. I had a good feeling about her through the emails we exchanged and our recent conversations on the phone after she arrived in Florence. We met in front of the San Lorenzo church and set out for the SITA bus station to take a bus to Siena.

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Because my palestra (gym) is closed for the rest of the month, I've been forced to go to my old palestra. I used to go to Palestra Ricciardi when I lived in Florence back in 1997-1999 and then each time I visited for a month, I'd sign back up. Each time I went, I'd see all the same people I used to know.

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Last night Dave and I met some friends for a gelato at Grom after dinner. We stood in via delle Oche waiting for them to arrive. At 10PM, the streets were quiet and only a few people were in the gelateria. When they arrived, we went inside to get a gelato and ate it outside in the streets enjoying the cool evening air.

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After weeks and weeks of high temperatures, we finally got some respite today. Not only has this summer been a scorcher, but the humidity has been so high that the air hasn't been cooling down at night. Everywhere I've been people have talked about the weather, but not in the usual way. If I see someone I know, we've just been looking at each other, shaking our heads, and saying, "Ma quando finisce questo caldo? Non ce la faccio pił." (When is this heat ending? I can't take it any more.)

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Living in Florence :: Concerti in piazza Santa Croce

I haven't been able to go through Piazza Santa Croce in quite a while. They built a stadium in the middle of the piazza for various performances and concerts. The stage is right below the front of the church, so that all the people in the audience face the church. It's a wonderful setup except that everyone has to walk around it and you can't really take a picture of the front of Santa Croce right now.

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I don't think I have ever slept as bad as I did last night. I kept trying to go over in my head how to drive to Borgo Ognissanti from our area without going through the restricted areas. I kept visualizing the streets I'd have to take, but since I never drive in Florence, I only have a few memories of when I've been driven around by friends and taxis.

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Living in Florence :: Quick visit to Perugia

We woke up to a sunny and hot morning in Massa Martana. We enjoyed our breakfast on the terrace of their rented villa with our friends. We sat in the shade and contemplated what we'd do for the day. We discussed visiting another town, swimming, and, of course, eating.

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Living in Florence :: Driving down to Orvieto

Our friends from Paris have rented a villa in Umbria in a small town called Massa Martana. We looked at taking a train, but it got too complicated. Our friends said that we should rent a car to come down. We hadn't thought of it, but decided it was a great idea. We haven't driven a car in Italy since we moved here in 2004.

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For the second afternoon in a row, a temporale (thunderstorm) has broken out. In the morning, the sky is clear and blue even though the air is hot and muggy. By lunchtime, a few white clouds arrive and we think the temperatures will decrease with the sun being covered up just a little bit. At around 3PM, we can see the dark clouds loom above and then the temporale arrives with thunder, lightning, and heavy rains that fall in every direction.

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