by Melinda Gallo

Finally the new year begins

Many people in Florence took last week off for La Befana, which was January 6th. A lot of my friends were out of town until this last weekend. Even in the streets, you can see the difference: the buses are packed, the grocery stores busy, and just more people on the street walking around.

It seems that most people took off after Christmas than during. During Christmas, Italians generally stay with family so the Florentines remain in Florence. They go shopping, have dinners to exchange gifts with friends, and walk around town.

But, not only do they go away for New Year's, but they also spend La Befana away as well, so they usually don't come back until the following Monday. Today is the big "coming back to town." People greet each other as if they hadn't seen each other in a long time even though it's probably been a week. People seem refreshed from the short break.

Walking the streets now, I realize that the gym will be filled up now. Everyone's back in town and the first place they go is the gym.

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