by Melinda Gallo

Aperitivo at the Four Seasons

If the aperitivo tonight wasn't held at the Four Seasons, I don't know for sure if I'd have gone. A young fiorentino, Matteo Renzi, is casting his bid to become the next sindaco (mayor) of Florence, and he has invited the active, but little recognized, minority of English-speaking residents.

As a resident of Florence, I am able to vote in the elezioni primarie (primary elections) because they are organized privately. For the actual election of sindaco, I will not be able to vote.

I arrived at the Four Seasons hotel a little before the aperitivo was supposed to begin so that I could take a look around the hotel. I walked through the narrow entrance hall and arrived in a large inner courtyard. I was amazed at how beautiful everything was: from the actual building and artwork to the furnishings.

We were directed to the back of the main building to the private garden where we could either walk or take a golf cart to the church where the aperitivo was being held. Unfortunately it was already dark so I wasn't able to see the garden very well. There were a few lights along the stone-covered path that showed us the way to the church.

When I arrived, the church was virtually empty, but it filled up quickly. Food was being passed around on platters while wine, prosecco, and water was being served on a table in the back. A long table with at least a half dozen people standing behind it were waiting to serve the food that was being kept warm in front of them. A friend of mine and I approached the table, but we didn't want to be the first ones to get food so we waited.

Once a few people began waiting in line to get food, I grabbed a plate and selected a few things that looked appetizing like the seafood pasta, risotto ai carciofi (artichoke risotto), and various bruschetta.

Mr. Renzi stood under a sign that said "Prima Firenze, si apre il sipario sul futuro (Florence First, open the curtain to the future)." Because we were in a church, I couldn't hear very well, so I walked toward the front to hear Mr. Renzi a bit better.

Many people criticize and blame our current sindaco for the degradation of our beloved city and because he's not presenting himself again, the vote for a new sindaco is filled with much excitement. I listened to Mr. Renzi with much interest and I did appreciate some of what he said; however I don't know much about the other candidates yet. I do hope that if he is selected as the candidate and he becomes the new sindaco of Florence that he will improve our beloved city so that it will become a cleaner, safer, and thriving city.

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