by Melinda Gallo

Rush to see friends

August is the month when almost everyone takes off on vacanza (vacation) usually either before or after Ferragosto (August 15th). Because so many of my amici are going away at some time during the month of August, there is a mad rush to see everyone before they leave.

For the last couple of months, the main question all my amici (friends) and conoscenti (acquaintances) have been asking me is, "Dove vai in vacanza? (Where are you going on vacation?)" By May, it's obvious that everyone is referring to the summer vacanza that takes place in August. Most people plan their trips right after Pasqua (Easter) while other people, like Alessandro and me, plan much later.

For the last few weeks I've been getting numerous phone calls from amici who want to see us, so we've been busy trying to see everyone. Last night we drove to the house of some of our amici who live near Greve in Chianti. A large group of us met and had dinner outside overlooking the hills. We ate barbecued salsicce (sausages) and rosticciana (pork spare ribs) along with fresh pasta and rice salads.

We sat outside at a large square table that fit all 20 of us. It was fun to see everyone laughing and talking together. Almost everyone talked about where they were going on vacanza and were all so excited about their summer breaks.

This year most of my amici are staying in Italy and are traveling around Tuscany or are going to Sardegna or Sicily. Almost all of them are going to the mare (seaside) to get some sun and find some respite from the heat we've been having in Florence. A few will be heading toward the montagne (mountains) to cool off and get some fresh air.

We still have a few more people to see this week who aren't leaving until after Ferragosto or who have already came back from an early vacanza. If we don't see them before they take off, we'll certainly all meet up again after they return in September when there is a second wave of dinners and get-togethers.

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