by Melinda Gallo

Surviving the zanzare

I don't think you have to be in Florence long to realize what a pest the zanzare (mosquitoes) are. If you're here for any period of time in the summer, you quickly realize that they can be quite ferocious. The longer you're here, the more you realize you have to buy a plethora of products to keep them away as well as to find relief once you've been bitten.

It takes a lot of trial and error before you find the right products. And unfortunately many punture (bites).

There are many products to keep the zanzare away. In the house I use a Vape, which I plug in to the wall every evening. We have very few zanzare in our apartment even though we live right along the Arno. My suocera uses a fornellino (ring) which burns like incense. Its odor is very strong, but it works incredibly well even when the windows are all open.

If I go outside, I have to use an anti-zanzare (anti-mosquito) spray on my body. It generally works well if I remember to put it on. I tried to use Avon's Skin-So-Soft cream once and it worked. Then when I got my own bottle of it, it seemed to be less effective. I slathered it on and confidently went outside. Within a few minutes in my friend's backyard, I got at least 10 punture.

The hardest thing to find is a pomata to put on after you've been bitten. I have tried at least four or five different ones and some work better than others on me. I go over the list of pomate that the farmacista (pharmacist) has given me and keep trying to find something that works better. The key is putting it on as soon as you've gotten bitten.

I carry my pomata with me wherever I go in case I do get a puntura. The worse punture are the ones that happen during the day by the zanzare tigre (tiger mosquitoes), which I've heard were brought by the Americans. The problem with these ones are that their punture seem to be the most painful and they are flying around rampant. They don't just come out at dusk like the other ones, so in the summer you're never safe; you could get bitten at any moment.

My farmacista is my best friend now that she has finally given me a pomata that I can put on immediately and not suffer for multiple days. The itching goes away within minutes and I'm not as bothered by getting bitten as I used to be. I still don't like zanzare and hate having them around, but in Florence we have to find a way to exist together without getting in each other's way.

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