by Melinda Gallo

Slowly starting up

After a quiet week in Florence with many of its residents away on vacation, fewer cars in the streets, shutters tightly shut, empty parking spaces, and many negozi (shops) around town closed. Today many of the negozi reopened and I couldnít wait to see some of the commercianti (merchants) with whom Iíve become friends. A few of them I havenít seen in over two weeks.

Our friends, a couple, at the gastronomia (delicatessen) were the first ones I visited. When I peeked out of our windows and saw that the negozio was open, I couldnít wait to go downstairs

Over this last year, all four of us have become good friends. I usually stop by their negozio even if I donít buy anything even if itís just to say hello. We started off by taking about calcio (soccer) and local news, and now we discuss almost anything.

After a long chat with them, I walked down to see my ortolano (greengrocer) who hasnít been open for three weeks. Iíve missed him the most because Iíve had to walk much longer distances to get fruits and vegetables. He has certainly spoiled the great quality of his produce that I havenít been that happy going anywhere else.

My ortolano was inside his negozio cleaning up. The well-stocked shelves that I usually look at to decide what Iíll be eating were empty. I was disappointed when he told me that he wouldnít be open for business until Thursday.

Last week was wonderful in Florence. Even with all the windows open, the city was still quiet with only a few cars passing by. This morning, however, it was a little noisier. The city still isnít working at full capacity with a few shops still closed. With one more week before the beginning of September, Florence is slowly coming back to life. Iím especially happy that my friends who are commercianti have returned because they have become a part of my life.

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