by Melinda Gallo

Una bella nevicata in città

It was the talk of the town today. Snow, snow, and more snow. I thought I saw snow yesterday, but today I was shown even more! The whole city was quiet and most people watched the bella nevicata (good snowfall) this morning from their apartments.

Living in Florence :: Una bella nevicata in città

But, I wanted to get out of the house to see it and to be in it. For once, the snow falls and I don't have to worry about slipping or falling on the ice in the road. It's not cold enough for it to turn into ice, it just melts.

I decided to go to the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio this morning and it was like a ghost town. Normally, there are hundreds of people everywhere either selling or buying. Today outside there were only a few vendors who were selling their fruits and vegetables and a handful of customers.

And, inside was even worse. No numbers to pick, no lines to wait in, and nobody to bump into. It was great for me, but each person I went to see, the macellaio (butcher), the man at the pasta place, and the two girls at the forno were not as happy. It was 1PM and everyone was ready to close for the day. Even the macellaio (butcher) told me, "Arriva la neve e sparisce la gente." (The snow comes and people disappear.)

The brunette girl at the forno always uses "Lei" (the formal "you") with me and normally calls me "signora" (madam). I've been contemplating how to tell her that I prefer she use "te" with me. It's a small detail, but it means a lot to me. I envy the way my Florentine friend Debora uses "te" with everyone except the elderly (which is a sign of respect). I normally just use "te" (the familiar you), but when people start with "Lei", I get flustered and somehow feel like I should use "Lei" instead.

I was waiting in front of the counter, staring outside while the blonde girl was waiting on a young couple. "Buongiorno!" I heard. I was startled by the voice and told the brunette, "Non pensavo che ci fossi oggi perché sta nevicando." (I didn't think you were here today because it's snowing). We both laughed. She told me that she was in the back, packing up. I didn't notice her blue eyes until today.

We heard some of the other men in the mercato bantering. "Il mercato è brutto," (The market is ugly) she told me. She explained that it's such a small environment that people gossip a lot. "Noi donne siamo poche e stiamo zitte." (There are few women and we all remain quiet.)

As she handed me my change, she said, "Grazie a te...ciao!" (Thanks...bye!) I walked away almost clicking my heels. I just needed one good conversation with her under my belt and we became "familiar." I love the snow!

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