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Via dei Neri at different times of the day

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Via dei Neri is the one street in centro (downtown) that I always take to go just about anywhere because I live very close to it. I love how at different times of the day the street, which represents most of the city, changes.

Early in the morning when I run down via dei Neri, there are a few people walking their dogs or going to work. I usually spot a few trucks parked on the marciapiede (sidewalk) delivering supplies to a few of the shops. The people who work at the edicola (newspaper kiosk) are usually arranging the newspapers and magazines.

Towards 10 am when the shops are open, I either ride my bicicletta (bike) or walk down via dei Neri where large crowds of people walk in the opposite direction toward the Uffizi. Generally they walk behind one person who is holding a sign up to lead the way. Lately, more and more of them have headsets on to listen to the cicerone (tour guide) speak. Many of them walk on the marciapiede while others walk in the street. I generally walk in the street so that it's easier for me to get around the sea of tourists.

I think I notice the tourists more now that many fiorentini (Florentines) have left the city for the summer. Today I was buying some fruit and vegetables from the ortolano (greengrocer) and most of the people who walked by were not Italian. The ones I understood remarked on the colorful display of fruits.

If I'm out around 1pm, via dei Neri is quiet and seems almost deserted. Many of the small restaurants along the street are full, but the marciapiedi are relatively empty. When many of the shops are closed for the lunch break, the streets are even emptier.

After 3pm when the shops open back up, the streets fill up again with locals and tourists. I usually go out to get a few more things at the shops before they close at around 7pm.

On Friday and Saturday nights in the summer, the via dei Neri gets blocked off so that a few of the bars and restaurants as well as the gelateria (ice cream shop) can place tables and chairs in the street for their customers. It's a nice touch for the summer. Sometimes Alessandro and I walk down to get a gelato (ice cream) or just stroll down the via dei Neri.

The later it gets at night, the more the crowds disperse and via dei Neri is once again deserted. A quietness blankets the street and it falls asleep until the next day when new visitors come to walk down it again.

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