by Melinda Gallo

It's all about the weather

No matter where I go in Florence, I'm faced with people I don't know. Some people I'd like to become better acquainted with and others I'd just like to be friendly with. I have learned one thing living here in Florence and that is that if I want to begin a conversation with anyone I don't already know, I make comments about the weather.

I have become well versed in the weather in Italian. After many years and many conversations, it has become the easiest way to break the ice no matter where I am. I've learned terms like, una grandinata (hailstorm), la pioggia (rain), la neve (snow), un vento di tramontana (wind from the north), cielo nuvoloso (cloudy sky), and much more.

Today at the gym, a girl I had never seen before walked in completely bagnata (wet). Without even thinking I said, "Sta piovendo?" (Is it raining?) Her comment back to me was, "E come!" (And how!).

A few other women that were in the spogliatoio (locker room) were talking about the previsioni del tempo (weather forecast) for the weekend. It seems that everyone in Italy watches the previsioni with great interest. I find it interesting when on some TV stations, a military official reports his previsioni meteorologiche (weather forecast) for the days to come. The women were commenting on how bad the weather has been here and how it's going to continue being rainy and cold for days to come.

I have probably began every one of my conversations with the vendors at my mercato talking about the weather. I usually start with something simple like, "Che freddo oggi!" (It's cold today!) or "Fa un caldo bestia!" (It's really hot out there!)

Generally, people always agree with you when you discuss the weather. No one in Florence likes it too hot, too cold, or too wet and everyone has something to say about the weather even if it's perfetto (perfect). And it has served as my backdoor to opening up conversations with just about everyone I encounter.

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