As I was walking around San Frediano yesterday to get to my new favorite restaurant, Pandemonio, I was amazed at how different it is from the areas that I usually go to. San Frediano has a beauty all its own that I had forgotten about. I felt almost guilty for neglecting this part of the city and for not appreciating it. I'm certain that it's fairly normal for us to walk the same streets all the time and to stick to the places we're familiar with. However, Florence is a small enough city where venturing out a little bit from our beaten paths wouldn't require that much effort, and the rewards make it well worth it.
San Frediano, I've been told by many Florentines, is the cuore di Firenze (the heart of Florence). My husband, when he describes a friend of his who is from San Frediano, tells me, "È fiorentino fiorentino. (He's very Florentine.)" I love how repeating words in Italian is used to emphasize them instead of using boring adverbs like "very."
As I waited for my friend outside the trattoria, I listened to children yelling up to their parents out a second floor window from the street. One mother called down to her son to go buy some bread at the forno (bakery) down the street. I was content just standing there watching the people pass by and taking in the atmosphere.
The buildings were lower and less impressive than in other parts of Florence. I love how the stucco peels off the sides of the building showing some of the building's natural grey color. I like seeing the laundry hanging outside of smaller windows and navigating down narrower streets. I find the San Frediano area charming in a way that's different from other areas of Florence. It feels so down-to-earth and understated. There is no fluff anywhere: no amazing monuments or churches that catch your eye when you walk by.
I know that San Frediano is much richer than it looks and maybe that's what I love about it. It's an area that has to be visited over and over to find the treasures that are waiting to be discovered. I'm looking forward to returning when I have more time to walk the streets some more and discover more of its beauty.
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