by Melinda Gallo

Free entrance to some museums

I have tried to renew my annual tessera (membership card) for Amici degli Uffizi for the last few weeks without any success. I read that the money for my tessera goes toward acquiring art and restoring works of art. I, of course, benefit by being allowed free entrance into many of the state museums in Florence, like the Uffizi and the Accademia. And, I don't have to wait in lines either!

I didn't have time to go to the small temporary office across from the entrance to the Uffizi before Christmas, so I tried to go before the New Year. The first time I arrived, the woman was on her coffee break, so I walked around and came back an hour later. When I returned, she informed me that the stampante rotta (printer is broken). I saw the stampante in pieces sitting behind her and she told me to come back after the 6th because by then the new stampante would have arrived and they'd have time to test it first.

I went back last week when I was in the area and the stampante had just arrived. She was taking it out of the box as I walked up to her desk. She told me to come back in a few days because they needed to test the printer to make sure it worked.

Today when I arrived, I had already practiced a long speech of how I'd really like to get a temporary card so I can go to a museum. My friends were able to get one, and were able to see the end of the Dante exhibit at the Uffizi, but I kept being told to come back at a later time.

When I arrived, the woman smiled at me and said, "La stampante funziona!" (The printer works!) I handed her my modulo (form) that I carefully filled out because my handwriting can be atrocious most of the time as well as last year's tessera. She handed me back the modulo and told me that she only needed the tessera.

When she asked me if I had any kids, I found myself asking her if I could have one for my niece because I don't have any children. She told me that that was fine and printed one up for her as well. So, now I have one tessera for me, Dave, and my niece.

The tessera is now a plastic card, like a credit card, instead of a laminated paper card. It looks much more professional and will certainly prove to be more durable.

I did try my tessera out immediately at the Museo Archeologico, which is across the street from our apartment, but they didn't accept it. Fortunately for me, an old friend of mine works there, so she let me in for free. You have to be someone's friend (either of the Uffizi or of a specific person) to get into a museum for free here.

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