by Melinda Gallo

Festa dell'Immacolata

Today was the Festa dell'Immacolata (Immaculate Conception's day) in Italy, which translated to large quantities of people walking the streets of Florence doing their Christmas shopping. The banks, post offices, and some of the grocery stores and other shops were closed, but many of the shops in the main shopping area, like in via Calzaiuoli, were open.

Living in Florence :: Festa dell'Immacolata

I walked to Shruti and John's apartment in front of Piazza Pitti. It was raining since the moment I left the house so I quickly zipped through the crowds, avoiding umbrellas and raindrops. When I got up to their apartment on the top floor, I didn't mind waiting for the children to get ready because I was trying to cool off from jogging to their place.

We walked down Via Romana down to the Porta Romana and onto viale Machiavelli to go to the Christmas Bazaar, which was organized by the American League. We had the address of the location where the bazaar was being held and all we could think about was how we hoped that it wouldn't be far up the viale. With the rain continuing and our hands feeling colder by the second, we were happy when we saw the old stables and all the people.

We could smell hamburgers and hot dogs being barbecued outside when we arrived. By the time we got there at 1PM, there were huge crowds of people outside and most of them were in line to get some food. This made it very difficult to get lunch since we had to stand in the rain while we paid and then waited for our food.

After we ate, we went inside the old stables (shown in the picture, which didn't turn out well) where the flea market was being held.There were used books, children's toys, clothes, and lots of other knick-knacks and small furniture. I, of course, browsed the hundreds of books they were selling for 1 Euro each. After buying only three, I found a flyer that said that they are opening another paper exchange bookstore downtown near the Duomo next week. I'll be heading down there sometime soon as I am quickly reading all the books I brought back from the states.

The rain subsided a little bit, but by the time we were about to leave, it started up again. I went back in and quickly purchased a hat for 3 Euros; it was the best purchase I made since I got all the way home and my head stayed dry.

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