by Melinda Gallo

Linda Falcone at the Paperback Exchange

Today I emailed Steve and Susan to meet for an aperitivo downtown. They told me that they were going to see Linda Falcone at the Paperback Exchange bookstore. I had heard that she was going to be at the McRae Bookstore the day before, but I couldn't make it. She has written a book called, "Italians Dance and I'm a Wallflower--Adventures in Italian Expression" and I was very interested in reading the book and listening to her.

When Dave and I turned onto the via delle Oche, we ran into Steve and Susan in the street. I had met them at the McRae Bookstore when Isabella Dusi was speaking a few weeks ago. I recognized Susan, but she didn't recognize me. We figured that we must have just crossed paths somewhere in centro like the Odeon Theater.

It turns out that Susan was taking a pastry class at Apicius where Simone teaches. And, Simone was her teacher. They told me that they hadn't yet been to Simone's restaurant and we decided to all go together some evening. We planned on going this weekend, but Simone called me to tell me that he wouldn't be there, so we rescheduled for another night.

We walked into the Paperback Exchange where they had placed many fold-out chairs. The bookstore was quite crowded with people sitting and standing. We arrived late, so we stood by the cash register.

Linda talked about how her book came to be. She explained that she is an editor for "The Florentine" and writes the "Italian Voices: a window on language" column.

She read one of her chapters, "We Don't Do" (Non si fa), which was about Italian rules that the Italians don't easily bend, like how you're not supposed to drink a cappuccino after lunch or put parmigiano on fish pasta. It was quite entertaining and I bought the book because I wanted to read more of what she had to say.

Afterwards, we walked over the Ponte Vecchio to the Golden View Open Bar. Steve had written about it on his blog and I have seen it many times, but have never been.

We sat down at a table to have our aperitivi in the wine bar area. They gave us a plate of thin slices of pizza and we enjoyed talking together. After we finished our drinks, it was 9PM and we were hungry, so we decided to eat dinner together.

The food was delicious. I wasn't expecting it to be that good since it seemed quite touristy with the waiters spoke to us in English even though I persisted and spoke to them in Italian.

When we left the restaurant it was well after 11PM. It had been warm and a little muggy most of the day, but the cool evening air was a true pleasure. When we walked over the Ponte Vecchio, many people were standing and sitting on the ground watching a young Italian singer play his guitar and sing. We walked through the crowds and past the guys selling fake Gucci bags on small sheets and sunglasses on cardboard boxes.

Since our return from France, it was the first time we've been out walking around in Florence. I enjoyed walking through the streets in the cool summer evening and listening to music being played as we walked across the Ponte Vecchio. Florence is a dream.

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