by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Affreschi sul muro

Sprinkled around town are numerous affreschi sul muro (frescoes on the wall), or "Madonna spots" as I call them, on corners of buildings. I have noticed that of the ones that I like, the Madonna is always present. I have, however, a few favorites, like the one on via degli Alfani at the corner of Borgo Pinti, which is shown here in a picture I took of it today. I used to walk past it to go to my old Internet Point on via degli Alfani, but now I walk past it once in awhile when I go toward Santa Croce or to the palestra (gym).

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I know quite a few expatriates who live in Florence now, and the one question that they generally have a hard time answering is why they came to Florence in the first place. Some people found love, got married, created families, and never left, but many others like myself came alone (as I did back in 1997) and found themselves not wanting to leave.

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I went to see my new naturopata (naturopath) yesterday because I wanted to get a few cromopuntura (colorpuncture) treatments, which is basically agopuntura (acupuncture) with light instead of needles. I had tried agopuntura and benefitted from it greatly, but knowing that I was going to get needles poked in me stressed me out each time. A friend of mine told me to go see her agopunturista (acupuncturist), but when she explained that the average number of needles she had at any one time was 30, I almost fainted. My agopunturista never put more than 10 in me at a time.

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Because Dave and I speak English together all the time, there are some things that I don't know the name of because the words don't come up in conversation. The other day, I was asking Simone if he had my glass rectangular dish. I called it a piatto in vetro (glass dish), like I would say in English. He couldn't find it at his place, so I then proceeded to explain it some more by mentioning that it was rectangular. "Ah," he said, "Vuoi dire un pirofilo!" (You mean a glass rectangular dish!)

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Living in Florence :: Fiera del cioccolato artigianale

For the first time since we've been here, we finally made it to the annual Fiera del cioccolato artigianale. It's always held down the Arno river toward Firenze Sud, so it's not convenient for people like us who have no car, so we haven't been that motivated to go in the past. Two of our friends wanted to meet us there this afternoon, so we finally had firm plans to go.

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It seems the more we live here, the harder it is to just visit a museum. We have many things to do and enjoy each day, like work and going out with our friends. And sometimes we're so busy, we don't think of visiting them either. After getting my new tessera (membership card) from the Amici degli Uffizi yesterday, I felt very inspired to go to a museum, so I did.

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I have tried to renew my annual tessera (membership card) for Amici degli Uffizi for the last few weeks without any success. I read that the money for my tessera goes toward acquiring art and restoring works of art. I, of course, benefit by being allowed free entrance into many of the state museums in Florence, like the Uffizi and the Accademia. And, I don't have to wait in lines either!

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Living in Florence :: Il Porcellino

After our movie and dinner tonight, Dave and I walked through town to go home. From Ponte Vecchio, I usually walk to Piazza della Signoria, down via Calzaiuoli to the Duomo, walk behind it, and then turn on via dei Servi to our piazza. But, tonight, we decided to walk toward Piazza della Repubblica for a change.

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I consider myself a fairly polite and respectful person. In each country, they have their social rules, and I feel it only courteous to abide by them. In Italy for example, it is considered polite to greet the people in a room or shop that you are entering. This custom is not new to me as it is the same in France as well. What I find upsetting is that some people, who do know the custom, decide to not adhere to it for whatever reason.

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Last night we went out to eat dinner with one of our new friends. He and his wife had suggested we try Il Santo Bevitore. Lately, I've been checking out numerous guide books and websites to discover some new restaurants to try. After living in Florence for a few years, we end up going to the same restaurants all the time. We have gone to many restaurants and were disappointed by so many, that we had decided to stick with our favorites.

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Ever since we moved into our new apartment, we've been fortunate to have also hired a new donna delle pulizie (cleaning lady). She works for our proprietari (owners) and we met her when she cleaned up the apartment before we moved in.

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I slip in the passato remoto (simple past tense), like l'altro giorno andai al mercato (the other day I went to the market), every now and again in my conversations these days. I read the passato remoto quite often as it is frequently used in books. My friends here in Florence use it quite a bit even for events that have just happened; however, my other Italian friends rarely use it at all. For them, the passato remoto is to be used with events much farther in the past, not things that happened yesterday.

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At 11AM this morning, the proprietaria (owner) of our apartment called me to say that the tecnico (technician) for the lavatrice (washing machine) was on his way and would be at our place in half an hour. I wasn't prepared at all for him to come as he said that he'd call me on the 9th.

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I haven't seen or heard anyone in the apartment this morning, but I'm hoping to see Claudia. I'd love to spend some time with her before she leaves next week, but I don't know what her plans are for today. I don't want to miss her today, but I don't want to sit in my room, waiting for her. I decide to get myself ready for the palestra (gym) and stick to my routine.

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Tonight Dave and I went al cinema (to the movie theater) with my first Italian teacher and friend, Gianluca. He's living in Germany these days for work although he'd rather be back here in Italy. He came back for le feste (the holidays). We don't get to see him much, so it's always nice to see him when he's in town.

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I went walking around in centro (downtown) for the first time yesterday. I had pretty much stayed home since Friday because I was a little under the weather. It seems like there's a small bug going around as almost everyone I know has a touch of something. Either a raffredore (cold) or the influenza (flu).

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Living in Florence :: First day of the year

Last night we stood out on our terrazza (terrace) for over an hour watching the fuochi d'artificio (fireworks) in many different directions. There were some near the Duomo, Fiesole, Santa Croce, Piazzale Michelangelo, and Campo di Marte. We couldn't pinpoint their exact location, but we knew roughly the areas.

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