by Melinda Gallo

Finding solace with shopkeepers

Today Dave and I took off a few hours from work and went shopping. We never shop together because we're usually busy working. Every time we walk by shops, and usually when they're closed, we find things we like. So today, we decided to finally take a short break and head downtown to the shops.

Even with the intermittent rain, we enjoyed walking around. It was certainly a different experience than with my friend Debora. We also went to different shops, which were in the tourist area near Piazza della Signoria and Ponte Vecchio.

I remember going to shops in the tourist area many years ago and most people didn't speak English. The shopkeepers nowadays seem to be bilingual. I would talk to them in Italian and they would talk to me in Italian. Then, they would translate what they said into English for Dave even though he didn't say anything. I found it funny that they just didn't talk to me in English too just because it'd be easier for them.

In a shop where I tried on some boots, a woman said to me smiling, "Non sei italiana." I responded that I wasn't and told her that I'm from California. She told me that I didn't have an accent and that I spoke so well. Of course, as the words came out of her mouth I became a bit flustered. I was flattered, but reminded myself that sometimes people lavish customers with compliments. I accepted the compliment all the same and thanked her.

She was very sweet and bubbly though and renewed my faith in the fiorentini (Florentines).

Each shop we went into people were nice to us, much sweeter than I remember from a few weeks before. Smiling, helpful, and welcoming. I was happy so see that maybe my mood had changed, the mood of the fiorentini had changed, or maybe a mix of both. It could just be that after being on vacation in Corsica that coming back to Florence was just a bit of a shock initially.

But, I'll remember that next time I go away somewhere that I shouldn't go shopping with anyone else until I'm settled in and if I do to make sure I go to the touristy area where people seem to be more pleasant.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!