by Melinda Gallo

Early spring

This past week we've had warmer weather than usual here in Florence. A few mornings this week, I was able to sit out on our terrazza (terrace) to enjoy the sun. I often take a peek at the top of the Duomo to see how many people are up there to get an idea of how busy the centro storico (historical downtown area) might be. I also look out onto the piazza and examine how everyone is dressed to get a feel for the weather before I go outside.

I noticed the other day that all the shops downtown have changed their vitrine (windows) and they are displaying clothes and shoes are for the spring. The saldi (sales) have been over for a few weeks now, but some shops still have a few winter items they're trying to get rid of. Normally at this time of year, I look at the spring collections still bundled up in my coat and scarf, dreaming of warmer weather. But this year, you could buy anything for spring and wear it immediately.

Most of the locals appear to be hesitant about this warmer weather. I see many of them walking in the streets still sporting jackets and scarves. For those people who ride a motorino (scooter) and wear a thicker sweater or jacket, they end up wrapping it around their waists when the weather warms up.

The temperatures here have varied from the 50's to the 70's this past week. The streets in the centro storico are crowded with tourists enjoying the early spring. I noticed many people sitting out on the steps in front of our building and in front of the Duomo. I always wonder why there aren't more benches outside for people, but they all seem to make do with sitting on the steps.

Now that we moved to our new apartment, we are obliged to walk through the crowds more often than before. When we lived near Santa Croce, I hardly even went near the Duomo. But, now I go past it almost every day and it's always a challenge to circumnavigate the people walking around, those who are standing in line to get into the Duomo, the people posing for pictures in front of it, and the bicyclists who ring their bells incessantly to get everyone to move out of their way. I sometimes go around the back of the Duomo, which is a little longer but a lot less stressful. I can already foretell that this summer, I'll be going around the back of the Duomo more often than I do now.

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