by Melinda Gallo

Few tourists out braving the cold

Today I went to go see my friend Simone at his restaurant. I hadn't seen him since before Christmas and he's been so busy at work and teaching cooking classes that he hasn't had any time to swing by our apartment. I walked into his restaurant and could smell his famous pâté with orange rind that he usually offers his customers as an aperitivo (appetizer).

Living in Florence :: Few tourists out braving the cold

He's getting ready to do some catering jobs, so he was busy preparing lots of food for this evening. I told him that we'd like to come by to eat, but when he's a little less stressed out. It's always more fun when we get to go to his restaurant and he can come out and chat with us a little bit. We haven't been to his restaurant since my birthday back in October. I really miss his cooking and now that he changed his menu, I'm even more eager to try what he has to offer. Of course, we'll probably go on a Wednesday when a sushi chef is there to eat some sushi too. So, we'll have to go twice!

I was surprised to find the streets quite empty downtown. A few small groups here and there, but mostly the streets were vacant. I walked along the Arno again because there's more sun and it wasn't too windy. When it's windy, it's always best to stay between the buildings for cover.

On the Ponte Vecchio bridge, I finally took a picture of Cellini's bust where people attach lucchetti (padlocks) to the metal fence surrounding his bust. Supposedly, you are supposed to write your name and your lover's name on the padlock and attach it to the fence. It means that your love will last forever. After I told my niece, when she visited Florence last year, about the reason why people put locks on it, she called him, "Mr. Love." It was quite appropriate, so nowadays, I usually giggle when I walk past Cellini's bust because I can still hear her tell me his new name.

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