header.gif

La nostra vigilia di Natale

Sunday, December 24, 2006

For the vigilia di Natale (Christmas Eve) instead of shopping, Dave and I were preparing for yet another aperitivo (appetizer party) although I think we can officially say it was more of a cena (dinner). This time, we invited a few less people in the hopes of eating more and enjoying the company of our guests.

I had a few commissioni da fare (errands to run) like pick up one of our quadri (paintings) from the corniciaio (frame maker's) and pick up glasses and plates from Simone's restaurant that he offered to loan us for our aperitivo.

I went to the corniciaio who greeted me by name. I've been in there a few times, like he told me to do, to remind him about my quadri. I told him last week that I wanted one done by Christmas and the other one done anytime thereafter. He said that he didn't want to split them up because once he does one, he can do the other one. Then, in the next breath, he said, "OK, vieni la settimana prossima e il pił grande sarą pronto per te." (OK, come back next week and the larger one will be ready for you.)

When I got there today, my quadro wasn't ready. The tela (canvas) was wrapped very loosely around a frame and it was just sitting on a stack of wood. I saw staples going in every direction around the quadro. The corniciaio told me that he needs to redo it because the person didn't do it correctly. I watched him undo all the staples with some tool, pick out another wooden frame from off the floor and wrap my tela around it. He began to pull the tela around the frame and stapled it every which way. I started to feel a little queasy as I saw the tela being manhandled.

I tried not to watch as he undid the staples a second time and staple the tela again to the frame. My tela ended up having holes all around it. He took a hammer and nailed the staples into it. As I watched him pick up the quadro as if it were a scrap of wood, I just wondered how he'd handle it if I weren't standing there.

He picked up the frame that I chose and pushed the tela inside of it. He put in more staples and turned it around to show me. I was very pleased with the result, but I was still a little shell-shocked by the framing process.

He wrapped up my quadro in brown paper and handed it to me. I lugged it all the way home. The entire time I was thinking about how I should've found a corniciaio that worked closer to our house, but when I made it to our building I was happy. Then, I remembered the three flights of stairs that I was about to walk up. I opened our portone (front door), took a deep breath, and tried to keep focused on getting to our apartment. At each piano (floor), I felt better, but more tired.

When I got home, I unwrapped the quadro and showed it to Dave. We immediately put it up and admired it.

I was surprised that I didn't see that many people outside, but I did take a lot of back streets to get my quadro from the corniciaio.

After I got home, I made a few desserts and then it was time for me to go to Simone's restaurant, which is on the completely opposite side of town. I decided to go down all the main streets in centro (downtown) to see what was happening.

I walked down via dei Servi toward the Duomo. On via dei Servi, a few people were walking and shopping, but the minute I turned the corner to the front of the Duomo, I saw tons of people everywhere. I think all of Florence was in centro taking a stroll. I could barely walk through the crowds of people without bumping into anyone. It was virtually impossible. The shops didn't look that crowded, but I think anyone who lived in Florence was out in the streets.

I took a taxi back home with plates, bowls, glasses, forks, and spoons that Simone loaned us for our aperitivo. I called Dave so he could carry the things up to the apartment. The box was too heavy for me.

I was happy that the first people arrived at 7:15PM. The last time, I was shocked at the number of people who arrived at 7PM on the dot. We were ready for them this time, and I even cleaned up the kitchen before everyone arrived. We ended up inviting all the people who couldn't come the week before to our aperitivo plus two women we had last time.

We all sat down in our living room to eat and talk. I was happy that all of my friends got along so well. There was a mix of English and Italian, but we mostly spoke Italian. A few of my Italian friends don't speak any English, so we all thought it would be rude to speak English in front of them without translating for them.

Sara's husband told us that in Italy, they used to not have Christmas trees or give gifts. It wasn't until after the war that the Italian Christmas became more American. Our friends Bari and Elisabeth were in the Christmas play that we saw a few weeks ago. They disagreed that translating the play into Italian would be simple. But, when we found out that the Italians don't even know who Rudolph is or believe that Santa Claus has a wife, we realized that it wouldn't work.

Gift giving was reserved for Giorno della Befana (Epiphany Feast), which is in January. It's the day when an old witch comes to give gifts to the good kids and carbone (coal) to the bad ones.

We had a great time together eating Dave's chili and drinking his margaritas. Again, we didn't touch the wine at all; I'm thinking that we'll never get through our eight remaining bottles. We realized that any time we put out typical Italian items out to eat, like affettati (sliced ham and salami) and formaggio (cheese), no one eats them. My cheesecake was more of a hit than my tiramisł too!

The evening ended and we went to sleep with the sounds of the church bells signaling the end of the midnight mass. It was a busy day, but our Christmas shopping was put on hold. And, now that shops are closed on Monday and also Tuesday, thanks to Santo Stefano, we'll be doing our last-minute Christmas shopping on Wednesday.

If you have any comments, please share them on the Living in Florence's FaceBook page. Grazie!

December 2006
SuM TW ThF Sa
12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31

Archives

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009

December 2008

November 2008

October 2008

September 2008

August 2008

July 2008

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008

March 2008

February 2008

January 2008

December 2007

November 2007

October 2007

September 2007

August 2007

July 2007

June 2007

May 2007

April 2007

March 2007

February 2007

January 2007

December 2006

November 2006

October 2006

September 2006

August 2006

July 2006

June 2006

May 2006

April 2006

March 2006

February 2006

January 2006

December 2005

November 2005

October 2005

September 2005

August 2005

July 2005

June 2005

May 2005

April 2005

March 2005

February 2005

January 2005

December 2004

November 2004

Travel Blogs