by Melinda Gallo

Timing is everything

Because Florence is often crowded with locals and tourists, I find myself not going out during the peak times of the day. For example, I don't shop in the late afternoons and I almost never go to the mercato before noon. I try to plan my excursions when the streets aren't quite as congested.

Today, I left my house at around 3PM to go to the Co-Op (supermarket), which is located on the other side of Piazza Beccaria. I walked down Borgo La Croce, which was quiet. All the shops were closed and few people were out.

The weather once again was sunny and cool, so the walk was pleasant down the shady street. Since I generally don't go out much during the weekend, I forgot how peaceful things are in the afternoon when the shops are closed in my area.

I wasn't sure how busy the Co-Op would be this afternoon, but I was surprised at how few people were inside buying groceries. I was under the impression that Saturdays would be busy all day since the Co-Op is closed on Sundays. I selected my groceries, waited in line at the cassa (cash register), and then walked out quite quickly.

On my walk back down Borgo La Croce, the shops were opening back up for the afternoon and a few more people were walking in the street. The tourists don't usually walk in this area, but they are usually easier to walk around than the locals.

Avoiding the crowds may seem a bit excessive to some, but it is so enjoyable to walk the streets without bumping into anyone. The empty streets and quiet shops are definitely enjoyable in a bustling city.

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