by Melinda Gallo

Many fiorentini (Florentines) have taken off to enjoy cooler temperatures and fresher air this week, but I prefer to stay in town. It may be hot in the afternoons, but the streets are much quieter. Itís a dream to walk around the city with so few cars and motorini (scooters) passing by. To enjoy the quiet Florentine evening, my girlfriend suggested that we go to the terrazza (terrace) of the Grand Hotel Baglioni so that we could catch a glimpse of my beloved city from another location.

Read More

With ferragosto (mid-August holiday) tomorrow, Florence has become even quieter this week. Many of the fiorentini (Florentines) have left the city and are cooling off al mare (on the seaside) or sulle montagne (in the mountains). Many shops and restaurants are closed for their annual summer break and the streets beyond the centro storico (historical center) are virtually empty. This morning, I was eager to take a walk along the Arno River where I had run yesterday so that I could enjoy the view a little more and take a few photos. I havenít had the opportunity to enjoy my beloved city as much with all my recent travels.

Read More

My new blog marks the beginning of my new life. I had written in my ďLiving in FlorenceĒ blog that I felt as if I ended an entire book, not just a chapter of my life. So it is no surprise that I am now writing in a new blog as well. I carefully chose the day that I would start my new blog as well as the days of my first two entries. My dadís birthday was the day I chose to begin my new blog. My motherís birthday was the date I chose to publish my first entry on Paris because she loved Paris so much, and for my entry on Florence I chose Anna Maria Luisa deí Mediciís birthday. Anna Maria Luisa was the last of the Medici family who donated her familyís art collection to the city of Florence.

Read More

I moved to Florence the first time one month before my 30th birthday. It was a significant time in my life when I had to choose between living a classic life or the life I had always dreamed of. I chose the dream and have been ecstatic ever since. I was only able to stay in Florence for two years before moving back to the US for five years where my life went through drastic and intense changes. In 2004, I returned to Florence (the city of rebirths) in the hopes of healing my broken heart and finding myself again.

Read More

I've been living in Florence since 2004 and traveling to Paris for work almost every month since the beginning of 2011. It was only recently that I decided to embrace my life in both cities. I initially thought that I had to choose one place to be my home, but I now feel that I can choose both. By doing so, I am able to appreciate each one more fully. This transition seemed natural to me especially because I believe that love allows us to encompass more in our lives, not less.

Read More

These past few months, I have been a bit silent on my blog. Besides my need to adjust to the important shifts that have occurred in my life, Iíve been feeling restricted by my blog. Now that I spend half my time living in Paris, I felt that I couldnít write about my experiences there because the focus of my blog is Florence. For this reason, I am stopping this blog and am starting a new one tomorrow. My new blog is called ďMy Heart in Two PlacesĒ and my intention is to write about my life in my two favorite and beloved cities: Florence and Paris.

Read More

Returning to Florence is something I always look forward to. I enjoy my time no matter where I am, but there is nothing like coming back to Florence. My beloved city has a way of welcoming me that I appreciate. I always feel safe and loved in her arms. The minute I walk out of the airplane, I look at the mountains in the distance and take in a deep breath. This time, the warm air surrounded me and filled my lungs. My body softened and a smile spread across my lips. All I could think was, ďI am home.Ē

Read More

For some reason, every time I arrive in Paris I feel a little melancholy. Once I get in to Paris and arrive at the apartment where I'll be for two weeks, I first unpack everything and then go for a walk. I like to breathe in the cool Parisian air, smell the city,and study my neighborhood. I do all this just so I can feel comfortable in Paris again. I was in Florence for three weeks to get my life back in order and to get used to living alone again. It was the perfect amount of time for me to get settled in before taking off again. It was almost as if I wasn't supposed to get too comfortable or get stuck into any routine before returning to Paris.

Read More

A month ago, I was sitting in the emergency room of a Parisian hospital waiting to get my newly sprained ankle looked at. I sat there in shock. I hadnít hurt my body bad enough to have to go to a hospital in over 13 years. I had already cried before I arrived at the hospital, but was still feeling sad at the thought that I might not be running for a while and wondered if I hurt it so bad that I wouldnít be able to run ever again. The longer I sat in the waiting room, the sadder I got. I had a half-marathon planned two weeks later, which I knew I would have to cancel no matter what.

Read More

Living in Florence :: More than a new chapter

With the many small changes I made in my life over the last year and a half, I made only one significant one that everyone noticed. Many of my friends said that I ended a chapter and am starting a new one, but for me, I feel as if I have ended one book of my life and am starting an entirely new one. As a part of my new life, I have decided to travel more, see more of Italy and the world, enjoy each day I wake up to, and embrace new experiences.

Read More

For me, the summer months in Florence entice me to step back a little and just take in each day as it comes. I find myself strolling instead of rushing down the narrow streets with the warm air brushing against my face. I find it a challenge to be productive this time of year. I can look out at the Arno and the low hillside across from my apartment and get lost in the soft colors and shapes of the buildings, trees, and grass.

Read More

Iíve been back to Florence for a week now and taking my time to adjust to the big change I just made. I want to make more changes and shifts in my life, but the warm summer air entices me to slow down, enjoy, and relax. To add to the weather, my sprained ankle is also forcing me to take it slow. I canít walk as fast or as far as Iíd like to. Iíve been wanting to walk along the Arno and get lost in my beloved cityís beauty, but I canít go far and can only take quick glimpses of it when Iím out.

Read More

Itís been two months since Iíve made an important decision in my life. One that Iíve been wanting to write about on my blog for at least a month, but have been dreading it a little bit. Alessandro and I have decided to get a divorce. The fact that Iíve kept it in for so long has only made it more difficult for me to write anything else for my blog. Iíve had so much to say, but felt blocked by keeping this piece of my life a secret. At first, I wanted to make sure all my close friends and family knew, but that hasnít been possible because many of my friends are either busy or out of town.

Read More

Tuesday evening I returned to Florence after a little over two weeks in California and today Iím in Paris. My trip to the US was a great personal success for me. Besides recharging my batteries, I redefined my goals, met new people, made deeper connections with family and friends, and committed myself to my goals and priorities. Being an expat is an enriching experience that can be quite challenging at times. So for me, itís a great respite to return to my natal city and reconnect with the energy I was born into. Itís as if I can more easily reassess my life by seeing where I am and where I was.

Read More

I practically picked Venice Beach out of a hat when I was pondering where to stay in Southern California. On one hand, I wanted to visit part of my family and my friends in the Los Angeles area, but I had a great desire to be by the water and not have to drive a car for the first week of my trip. I asked a few people about the area, but most thought I should choose Santa Monica instead because for them Venice Beach was crazy and a bit weird. Fortunately, they were unable to persuade me to change my mind. I knew virtually nothing about Venice Beach and was eager to discover it for myself.

Read More