by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Museo di Orsanmichele

On Monday, a woman I had just met mentioned that the museo (museum) above the Orsanmichele chiesa (church) would be open until the end of October for a mostra (exhibition) that was being held there. I hadn't heard of this museo, so I was intrigued to go. I had made plans with myself to visit the museo one morning this week, but as the days went by I had completely forgotten about it. At around noon while I was walking home from the Piazza Repubblica today, I took via di Lamberti past the chiesa. I saw a man standing outside of the palazzo (building) and I was immediately reminded about the museo. I walked up to him and asked him how long the museo would remain open. "Fino alle cinque oggi Until 5 pm today," he said. I decided to skip my commissioni (errands) and head inside for a visit.

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After a visit to my private specialist yesterday who handed me a ricetta medica (prescription) written on her notepad, I had to go to my medico di famiglia (family doctor) to get an actual ricetta medica today so that I can go through the public medical system. I prefer to see some specialists privately just because it's faster to see them, and I always get who I want. But, the only downside is that I have to always go back to my medico di famiglia to get a ricetta medica.

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Living in Florence :: Walk from Coverciano

Today I went on another passeggiata (walk) from Coverciano, which is the area near the stadio (stadium) to our apartment in centro (downtown). I walked the same route as I did last Sunday. This morning on via Paoli people were getting ready for a large outdoor mercato (market). The entire street was lined with banchi (stands) on both sides selling clothing, housewares, and food. Music was blaring from some of the banchi while people were browsing the tables even though the mercato wasn't officially open yet at 8 am.

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Living in Florence :: American treats at Mama's Bakery

Today, I finally had a chance to go to Mama's Bakery, which I read about in The Florentine more than a month ago. I haven't found a good American-style forno (bakery) in Florence, so I was eager to try out this new one. Even though I love living in Florence and enjoy all the local delicacies, I still have my cravings for American treats.

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I'm certain that it's only human to want to be noticed and acknowledged. I greet people in the street that I know, and people often greet me when they see me. Sometimes I stop off in shops where I know people and we either chat in their shop or we grab a coffee together so we can chat. One other way that people greet me, which I greatly appreciate, is through Alessandro.

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This morning I hitched a ride with Alessandro to go to one of my favorite pasticcerie (pastry shops) outside of the centro (downtown area), Pasticceria Stefania in via Marconi. Alessandro goes there every weekend morning before work and this morning I woke up at 7am just to have one of their sfoglia con crema (puff pastry with cream). I love how when we get there, they are still warm from coming out of the oven. Normally, Alessandro would drive me back home, but today I decided to take a long walk home afterwards.

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Living in Florence :: Florence as a backdrop

After dinner Monday night at my friend Simone's restaurant, Alessandro and I decided to walk through Piazza Santo Spirito on our way back home. We were surprised to see bright luci (lights) shining and a few people standing around the piazza. It was close to 11.30pm and the piazza was quiet even though there were telecamere (television cameras) and proiettori (projectors) sprinkled around. We were excited to see that they were filming a movie in the piazza.

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I have always loved the campane (bells) that ring every hour all around town. Sometimes I admit that I don't hear them, but other times they stop me in mid-sentence. I love that no matter where I am in centro (downtown area), I hear a different set of campane ringing from different chiese (churches) and torre (towers).

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Living in Florence :: Summery afternoons in October

The past few days we've been fortunate to have surprisingly warm weather. In the mornings and evenings the temperatures are low, but in the afternoon temperatures reach up to 27°C (81°F). For me, it's the best weather we've had all year: sunny days and cool evenings. Many people are confused as to how to dress because of the extremes we're having, but we all seem to find our way.

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Before the sun set, I walked down via dello Studio, which is a lovely stone street that leads up to the Duomo. The view of the Duomo is one of my favorites in the entire city; however, I always have to watch my step on the uneven street because I love looking up at the Duomo while I walk. Via dello Studio is a narrow street with four to six-story buildings on each side, and at the end of the street I can see a sliver of the Duomo. As I look up toward the sky, I take in a view of the cupola (cupola) that dominates the street. I'm always envious when I see people walking around at the top of the cupola taking in Florence.

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After the new leggi (laws) that passed this summer, I've had to find a new place to park my bicicletta (bicycle). Initially, I parked it on a side street where vigili (police officers) left a note saying that I had to move it or else it would be rimossa (removed) by them. I then found a palo (pole) on the corner of my street that sometimes has biciclette locked to it that was available. I locked my bicicletta to it and thought that I had found the perfect spot.

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Living in Florence :: Parco Regionale della Maremma

This morning we left for the Parco Regionale della Maremma (or Parco dell'Uccellina) early this morning, but not before we grabbed a caffè at one of my favorite pasticcerie (pastry shops) on the outskirts of centro (downtown area). We drove south toward Grosseto and arrived only a few minutes before the bus left to take the visitatori (visitors) inside of the parco (park) where many trails begin. Almost everyone else was dressed in hiking gear while we were only in jeans and tennis shoes. When Alessandro told me that we'd be going to a parco for a passeggiata (walk), I had assumed something low-key and relaxing.

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Living in Florence :: Fiera della ceramica

I met one of my friends for a coffee this morning. Because we were close to Piazza Santa Croce, we ran through the mercato (market) that was being held there. After we perused the bancarelle (stands), we decided to go to Piazza Santissima Annunziata to visit the Fiera della ceramica. I have always loved ceramiche (pottery), and anytime the fiera (fair) is in the piazza I go to it without any hesitation.

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Alessandro came back today with two castagne (chestnuts) in his pocket. When he placed them on the table, I asked, "Cosa fai con due castagne? What are you doing with two chestnuts?" I held the two small, raw castagne in my hand as he explained. "Un mio collega mi ha detto che se tengo queste due castagne, non mi ammalerò. One of my colleagues said that if I keep these two chestnuts, I won't be sick."

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