by Melinda Gallo

First stroll through Florence

The first thing I noticed during my first stroll through Florence wasn't the tourists, but the zingari (gypsies). When we were on the train from Rome, I had overheard an Italian woman talk about how there were a lot of zingari. I tend to not see them, but today, it seemed that they were everywhere I went.

I admit that I was walking on via Calzaiuoli and it was fairly crowded, but every time I looked up, one seemed to be walking toward me. They were generally women with frumpy clothes and disheveled hair. Asking for money in a whiny, but insistent voice. They hold up photos of children or signs describing their situation.

I wanted to walk inside the Orsanmichele church, but there was one zingara in front asking for money. I walked past her, but I could hear her voice echo behind me until she found a new target to pester.

Who isn't annoyed by the presence of the zingari in the city? Fortunately, it doesn't stop Florence from being a beautiful, rich, and amazing city. As the woman on the train concluded, "Firenze sempre Firenze. (Florence is always Florence.)"

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