After I first arrived in Florence years ago, I quickly realized that it was quite small. I found myself walking in centro (downtown) and bumping into people I either knew or saw just recently. Florence can feel almost provincial at times.
This afternoon we took a taxi from Piazza Santa Croce to Il Museo Stibbert. I had heard of the museum and even lived nearby back in 1997-1999, but had never gone to visit it. After my sister showed an interest in taking her family, I read about the museum on their website and decided that I definitely didn't want to miss it.
I made reservations for my family to go to the Galleria degli Uffizi today. I decided to join them and handed the woman my tessera (membership card) for the "Amici degli Uffizi" to get my free ticket. We had to go to an office across the main entrance to pick up the tickets. We waited in a short line for a few minutes and then walked back to the special entrance for groups and reservations and were ushered quickly inside. After going through the metal detectors, we walked up the grand steps a few levels up and began our tour of the Uffizi.
After another picnic lunch today, I took my niece to get her afternoon gelato. Her parents went shopping and the two of us got to hang out together. I love spending time with my niece alone. It's fun to walk down the street holding her hand. She enjoys looking at the buildings and streets and is quite aware of what is going on around her.
Today I went to the mercato and picked up a few things for my family to enjoy for lunch. We have been eating out so much that I decided that it'd be good to eat a few things at home. I had an idea of what to get, but of course, it was much clearer when I arrived at the mercato.
I love it when my family visits me in Florence. Besides spending a lot of time together, I also get a chance to visit my city a little bit more. I'm able to enjoy some of my favorite places, like museums, restaurants, and churches again. What is also wonderful is that I even get to visit new places that I hadn't yet been to. Today was a sunny day, so we decided to meet for lunch in Piazza Santo Spirito.
We walked to the Zattere vaporetto (water bus) station to go to the train station this morning. We hauled our luggage onto the vaporetto and tried to position ourselves without blocking the pilot's door. The conductor kept yelling at us to go downstairs into the seated areas, but there were too many people below and on deck for us to risk not being close to the exit.
I was surprised to see the sun shining so brightly when I opened the green shutters outside the apartment windows. I was happy to see bright blue skies even though the wind felt a bit nippy. Right after breakfast, I went with my sister, her husband, and niece over the Accademia bridge through Campo San Stefano and into Piazza San Marco.
We woke up to rain and arctic winds. Luckily, my sister brought umbrellas for us so we were prepared to visit Venice. She had asked me about the weather before arriving in Italy on Wednesday and I had told her it was warming up, but I had no idea that Venice would be this much colder than Florence. I assumed a little colder, but it was almost 70°F on Tuesday in Florence and in Venice we would've been happy if it was 50°F outside.
We left the sunny, blue skies in Florence and headed north to Venice on an early morning Eurostar train. As we traveled north, the skies became grayer and the sun slowly disappeared. When we walked out of the Santa Lucia train station and looked out on the Canal Grande, we didn't care that it was cloudy or even much colder. We had arrived in Venice--a place so enchanting that weather has no affect on its beauty.
After being woken up by a bright sun shining in our room early this morning, I decided to go shopping toward the Co-op in via Gioberti. Because I haven't seen my friend Yoshie in months and her newborn Lorenzo, who is now 6 months old, I called to see if I could pop by to visit them both.
These past few weeks I have noticed that the more I talk with the guys at the mercato, the more they talk to me about their other clienti (customers). They don't tell me their names or tell me anything about them like what they do for a living or where they live, but they do make it clear to me who they like and who they don't like.
It wasn't as hard for me to get up the next day to go to school. I was the first one to breakfast and Rea sat next to me eating quietly. I tried to talk to her, but we didn't have much to say to each other. I wondered if I should wake up the girls as I served myself another cup of caffč, but maybe they need to sleep off their drinks from last night. Right before I left the house, I heard Catherine rummaging in her room, so I felt it was OK for me to leave.
Claudia, Catherine, and I walked down via Lamarmora toward Piazza Libertą. We were all excited about going to Parterre. I was the most excited since it was the first time I had been out since I arrived. It didn't seem that late at night, but no one else was walking outside on the sidewalk except us. As we were crossing the viale, it felt like everyone's eyes in the cars waiting at the light were on us. One guy yelled something out at us, but I couldn't understand him. Claudia must have understood because she said something under her breath and hurried us along.
I asked the guys at the place where I buy formaggio, prosciutto, latte, burro, salame, and uova (eggs) what they consider themselves as I can't find the right name to describe them. Sometimes I call them a latteria because I used to only buy milk from them. Then, I started calling them a gastronomia because that covered formaggio and prosciutto. So, I never know what to call the place I go to every time I go to the mercato.