by Melinda Gallo

Allergic to Florence

Two friends of ours arrived on Saturday afternoon from California and we've been enjoying great dinners accompanied with fantastic wines. It has been a wonderful treat for us to go out with Jack because he has so much knowledge about wines. I have even begun to like white wines now.

Yesterday, Jack's wife, Marie, told us that he was coughing a lot, but when Jack came to our apartment he wasn't coughing at all. I asked him about it and he figured he might be allergic to something in the room.

This morning, he felt even worse, so he went to an English-speaking doctor downtown, who is actually English. The doctor told him that he's allergic to Florence. Supposedly, the doctor said it's quite common. Many tourists come here and suffer greatly and it turns out that they're allergic to the city!

My first reaction was to laugh. And then, I thought about it. With the Tuscan countryside so close, there is a lot of pollen flying all around mixed with the high level of pollution from the cars, buses, and scooters, allergies are awful here. When I lived here before, I didn't have such serious problems with my allergies, but with the pollution getting worse, allergies just seem to be even worse.

The English doctor gave Jack a prescription for anti-histamines and antibiotics (the standard Italian remedy for almost anything). He felt better although tired. He leaves Florence on Wednesday and hopefully his allergies will subside.

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