by Melinda Gallo

Socializing in early summer

I feel like I've been more social in the last week than I have in probably two years! In just one week, Dave and I went out for drinks and dinner with Steve and Susan, attended a Garden Party over the weekend where we made a few new acquaintances, I had lunch with Marie, Paola, and their friend Jim, and today we enjoyed lunch with Art and Glen.

Steve and Susan have been living here for quite a while and are fun to go out with. Marie and Paola are out here test-living in Italy to see whether they want to live here or not. And, Art and Glen are friends of a friend who are out here visiting.

Now that our family and friends know that we live in Florence, anytime someone they know mentions Florence, they tell them to contact us. Dave and I definitely do enjoy meeting new people and as well as seeing friends and family. It's fun to show off my favorite town to other people and take them to the many restaurants that I know and love.

I told Art and Glen to meet us at the Osteria de' Benci. I know one of the girls who works there because she and I took a small workshop together at my yoga center last year. She has seen me with a variety of different people. One time, she asked me, "Fai la guida turistica te?" (Are you a tour guide?) I told her that I wasn't, but that it almost feels that way since I often bring people to her restaurant.

I had just gone to Osteria de' Benci on Monday with Marie, Paola, and Jim. We weren't planning on eating there but because the rosticceria (rotisserie) , today we had to meet Art and Glen, whom we didn't even know. I didn't know what they looked like and I tried to explain what we looked like. Luckily, they arrived early as did we (for once) and my friend said that maybe the people we were meeting were the two guys standing next to the door.

We enjoyed our lunch and talked about Italy. Art and Glen have travelled much more extensively in Italy and told us all about their favorite places and their not-so-favorite places.

For dessert, we decided to go to Gelateria dei Neri, which was around the corner because Glen wanted to have some gelato al cioccolato (chocolate ice cream). My brother-in-law had the cioccolato fondente senza latte (dark chocolate without milk) and said it was exquisite, so I had to have Glen try some. He did and loved it.

Art and Glen also told us about Danny Rock, which is an American-type restaurant/bar where supposedly they have great hamburgers. We walked past it so that Dave and I could take a look at the menu. I'm sure that he'll be dragging me back there very soon.

Because Art and Glen lived in Florence for a year in via Romana, they also told us about a few more restaurants in the Oltrarno area that we'll have to try.

It's the beginning of summer even though it has been cold and a little rainy here and there are many more people who have planned to come to Florence. We're excited because there will be more restaurants to try, more gelato to eat, and more people to go out with. I never thought that living here would allow me to meet so many people.

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