by Melinda Gallo

My visit to Monte Bello

I walked down via degli Alfani to via dei Servi where my friends, Maurizio and Dani, have a shop named "Monte Bello" where they make some amazing things. Many of which I bought when I lived in Florence before and then left them all back in the US. They take pieces of wood and design, carve, and paint on them, like paintings, boxes, frames, mirrors, and more unique artistic pieces.

Living in Florence :: My visit to Monte Bello

I was hoping to see Dani, Maurizio's Chilean wife. I met them both when I first moved to Florence back in 1997. I found the shop while I was walking past it and used to go in all the time to admire their work and buy gifts as well as a few for myself.

They paint many of my favorite things: the Santo Spirito church, hearts, and tulips! Maurizio and Dani have two children and are planning to move closer to downtown because Maurizio told me that there's a scuola alternativa (alternative school) near Santa Croce. The more he explained where the school was, the more I realized how close it was to my apartment.

He explained to me that he wants his children to be happy. "Non hanno bisogno di essere i più intelligenti. Voglio che siano felici. La vita è troppo corta e l'unica cosa che voglio è la loro felicità." (They don't have to be the most intelligent. I just want them to be happy. Life is too short and the only thing I want is their happiness. ) It was great to hear these words spoken. I haven't heard any other parent ever express what I also believe is the most important...a child's happiness.

I was excited to tell Maurizio all about the area, which he knows already, and the small giardino (garden) for children in Borgo Allegri, which he didn't know at about. I'd love for them to move closer as I'd then be able to see their children a bit more.

At any rate, I'm still hoping to see Dani. I seem to keep going when she's not there. Either she's picking up the kids at school or at home to take care of them. I'm thinking of going back in January when she'll be back at work. I'm sure I'll look at their beautiful pieces of art and hopefully add to my collection. I just can't keep my pocket book shut when I go in there.

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