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Fare da cicerone

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Dave wasn't feeling well this morning, so I met up with Massimo and our French friends, L. and A. by myself. I didn't have an exact plan of what to show them becuase there's so much to see and we only had one day. I decided to take them to the Piazza della Signoria to start the tour after meeting them along the lungarno.

After they took a few pictures of the David statue, I took them down to the Ponte Vecchio where they wanted to return because it was so beautiful at night. The weather was spectacular and we enjoyed standing on the Ponte Vecchio, looking out at the Arno.

We walked down Borgo San Jacopo and then up via de' Tournabuoni. We went to Piazza Repubblica and had drinks on the fifth floor of La Rinascente. I showed them the different monuments in Florence from above and we decided to go to the Duomo to go up the Campanile di Giotto.

When we arrived under the Campanile, we were lucky that there was no line. We walked up the dark and narrow staircase of the Campanile and took photos on each of the levels because the view was so beautiful. We got to the top of the Campanile where the view was amazing. A. and L. commented on how colorful the city was: the green Tuscan hills, the orange-tiled rooftops, and the pastel-colored buildings. I had to admit that it was breathtaking. It was the first time I had finally gone up the Campanile di Giotto and was so happy to have gone up with my friends.

We entered into the Duomo because again we were lucky enough that there was no line of people outside. Afterwards, we went to the San Lorenzo area, where I rarely go, to eat at Trattoria Z-Z. We waited a few minutes to get a table on their second terrace outside. The weather was so nice that we really wanted to enjoy it as much as we could.

Our cameriere (waiter) arrived not paying much attention to us. Massimo talked to him and commented on how antipatico (unpleasant) he was. He tried to engage the cameriere, but could barely get him to smile. Massimo asked me, "I fiorentini sono tutti cos antipatici?" (All the Florentines are so unpleasant?) I thought that maybe they were just like that with non-Italians, but maybe they're like that with non-Florentines.

After lunch, we walked through the mercato di San Lorenzo where A. was looking at sunglasses. The guy at the bancarella (stand) was dark-skinned and had an accent. I would've guessed that he was Asian of some sort. While I was talking to A. in French about the glasses she was trying, Massimo talked to me in Italian. The guy said, "Lui italiano?" (Is he Italian?). I think he meant to use the formal you, but since that is feminine ("lei"), he just replaced it with "lui". Massimo asked the guy for a sconto (discount) because I told him that they usually treat the fiorentini (Florentines) much better. "Per i fiorentini, i prezzi sono pi alti." (For the Florentines, the prices are even higher.) I couldn't help, but interject. "Cosa ci stai dicendo? Non mica vero. Di solito i prezzi per i fiorentini sono pi bassi." (What are you telling us? It's not true. Normally, the prices for Florentines are much lower.) He kept arguing with me and told me that it wasn't true. I just stopped talking and let Massimo take over.

He wouldn't give A. a sconto and Massimo said, "Volevamo comprare qualche altro paio di occhiali ma ora niente." (We wanted to buy a few more pairs of sunglasses, but now nothing.) Massimo said that he'd never had a straniero (foreigner) ask him if he was Italian in Italy. I told him that maybe it's just a Florentine characteristic.

Afterwards, we went back through town in via Calzaioli to look at more shops and then crossed the Ponte Vecchio again.

Later at dinner, we went to Osteria Santo Spirito. I tried to get reservations, but couldn't. We weren't the only ones who wanted to eat outside on the terrace. Luckily, we only waited a few minutes for a table outside. Massimo found the cameriere was nice, so he asked him, "Perch i fiorentini sono antipatici?" (Why are the Florentines unpleasant?) The cameriere responded that those who work where there are lots of tourists aren't as pleasant, but that at this osteria they have a lot of fun.

My day facendo da cicerone (being a tour guide) ended well although I was exhausted when I got home. All the walking, eating, shopping, and translating wore me out.

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June 2006
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