by Melinda Gallo

Meeting Paola Zannoner

When I was in a libreria (bookshop) near my house, a book named "Firenze in quattro stagioni" (Florence in Four Seasons) caught my eye. After reading only a few pages of the book, I searched the Internet for Paola Zannoner, the author, and wrote her an email. I asked her if it'd be possible to publish a couple of excerpts on my Florence from the Heart website. Her response was positive, and we decided to meet for a drink today.

After seeing my sister off this morning, I worked a little before preparing for my drink with Paola. I was a little nervous, but was looking forward to meeting her. We met near the Ponte Vecchio, and immediately recognized each other. We walked to Piazza Repubblica where we sat on the terrazza (terrace) at Paszkowski's.

We chatted about everything from ourselves, our city, and writing. I learned that she mostly writes books for adolescents; however, the book that I bought was written for adults. She told me that she wasn't born in Florence, but she has been calling it home for many years. Not being a native Florentine, she says that she sometimes feels like an outsider. We talked about how it's probably necessary for a writer to be a part of a place, but to also not completely fit in. In that way, a writer is able to be more objective.

Her book "Firenze in quattro stagioni" is about her tales of riding her bicicletta (bicycle) through Florence in each of the four seasons. She takes us through Florence, pointing out noteworthy places, integrating interesting facts, and describing her own life in the city we both call home.

I enjoyed my time with Paola and we are planning to meet up again before the summer break. I'm hoping translate and publish an excerpt on my Florence from the Heart website within the next few months. For now, I'm enjoying Paola's book as she takes me through our city and lets me see it through her eyes.

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