by Melinda Gallo

And then came the rain

On Friday, Florence was breathtaking with snow falling for eight continuous hours. I was mesmerized by the steady flow of flakes floating down from the sky. I sat in a restaurant for lunch with a friend and we watched the streets, sidewalks, and cement benches in the piazza disappear under white mounds of snow. With the city glowing at night from the reflection of the street lights on the snow, there was a sort of excitement that hung in the air.

On Saturday morning, I woke up to a magical city. A thick blanket of snow covered the entire city: cars, motorini (scooters), rooftops, trees, hillsides, and monuments. I dashed around town snapping photos, over 200 in all, to capture my city in its prime.

In the early evening, with temperatures dropping to -9°C (16°F), the sidewalks began to freeze. They were no longer white, but had become translucent.

My suocero (father-in-law) called me on Sunday morning to say that he couldn’t drive his car to pick me up at my place because many of the streets were icy. Since he didn’t have catene (chains) on his car, he was unable to drive the icy roads. He suggested that I walk to their place and that we’d meet half way. “Ti faccio compagnia (I’ll keep you company),” he said.

He walked in front of me and indicated where I should be more careful because it was slippery in some spots. I was worried about him because he told me that he already slipped and fell on the way to my place. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the sidewalk in some spots, and it was a little stressful when I lost my balance and slid a little bit.

We walked through Piazza Santa Croce toward Piazza Ciompi. All the sidewalks on the less frequented streets were icy and I ended up tiptoeing down them. We turned down Borgo La Croce and headed to Piazza Beccaria. We passed people along the street doing their Christmas shopping.

At times we walked in the middle of the street where the snow and ice had melted due to the passing cars. I was happy when we finally arrived to their house. I was so appreciative of my suocero coming to get me because I might have abandoned the trip had I walked it alone.

In the early evening yesterday, the rain finally came. When I woke up this morning, the rooftops across the river were still covered with snow, but the trees and streets had less snow on them. I discovered that the sidewalks weren’t slippery when I went out for a walk. Even though the rain melted much of the snow, I was happy to see that there was still some left on the Duomo.

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