by Melinda Gallo

From Venice back to Florence

I woke up to a beautiful and clear day in Venice today. We didn't plan anything for the day, but instead decided to fare colazione (have breakfast) in a bar nearby and just walk around some more. With such wonderful weather, we couldn't help but want to get out and enjoy the day. Jill led me through many calle (streets) to get to a few shops and interesting places, like an art exhibition in a palazzo along the Grand Canal.

Living in Florence :: From Venice back to Florence

When I'm in Florence, I seem to never find time to shop, so I decided that my vacation to Venice would consist of some shopping. Besides, I'm content just looking at the windows most of the time; I don't feel I need to buy everything.

We walked to another bar along the Grand Canal to have an early afternoon drink so I could write a few cartoline (postcards) and we could discuss lunch plans. We walked to a small restaurant with a terrazza (terrace) in a quiet campo (square).

We walked around some more and I took a few pictures when I felt inspired to do so. I shopped a little bit more when I saw something interesting in a shop. The calle were very crowded with people walking in both directions. By the time we got back to her place so I could gather my things, I was exhausted.

Jill walked me to the vaporetto, pointed me in the right direction, and shipped me off to the stazione (train station). As soon as I got shoved on, I talked to the conductor of the vaporetto. I told him that I needed to buy a ticket, and he said with a chuckle, "Lei può fare la coda. (You can stand in line.)"

I swayed with the boat and tried to hold on to my suitcase and extra bag full of goodies and asked him where I should stand. He responded by telling me that if someone comes on to check the passengers, he'd remember that I wanted to pay and that he couldn't sell me a ticket.

I smiled and hoped that no one would come and check because the vaporetto was so packed with people there'd be no way for me to get back to the conductor. And, not having to pay the 6 Euros for my one-way vaporetto ride wasn't so bad either.

People seemed quite hostile on the vaporetto as we were all getting pushed and knocked into. I had my feet stepped on more than once. One woman pushed her way through the crowd saying that there should be a vaporetto only for residents. I can fully understand. I honestly don't know how residents put up with so many people on the vaporetto.

I couldn't remember how many stops Jill told me before I was to get off, so I kept looking outside. I asked the woman in front of me if the next stop was for the stazione, but she said it was in two stops. "Metà vaporetto scende. (Half the vaporetto gets off)," her husband said to me.

Suddenly more and more people were crowding the aisles as the next stop was for the stazione. A woman who put her hand first on my suitcase and then on the railing said, "Fa un caldo bestia qui dentro. (It's incredibly hot in here.)" I smiled from ear to ear as I heard her thick Florentine accent. I had been listening to the Venetian accent for only a day and a half, but I really missed the Florentine one.

It was so nice that I said something to her in agreement, and she added, "Non c'è mica aria! (There's not even any air!)" It's not just the accent, I realized, but the words that the Florentines use that I truly love. They certainly don't mince their words and if something isn't right by them, they will let everyone around them know.

I had loved my visit to Venice, but a part of me couldn't wait to get back home to Florence. Besides the obvious of my being able to see Alessandro, I wanted to smell the Florentine air no matter how smoggy it can get at times. I think it is true that each city is unique and does have its own smell. I know that when I go back to San Francisco, there is a distinct odor that I have only smelt there that I also appreciate.

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