by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: L'ultima partita della stagione

I had been looking forward to today's partita (soccer match) all week. Not only was it the Fiorentina's last game of the stagione (season), but also the last one for them to come in third place. Alessandro bought tickets for the partita in the Maratona section of the stadio (stadium). I was hoping to be in Curva Fiesole, but we could only get one spot so we opted on being together at the stadio and got seats elsewhere. Being a sold-out partita, we knew that it would also be one of the most exciting partite of the year.

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Living in Florence :: From one garden to another

For the past couple of days I have felt a desire to be around nature. I love the city with its stony roads, concrete buildings, marble fašades, and the ever-changing Arno. After visiting the city and its celebrated museums with my sister, I felt an almost physical need to go to the Giardino Bardini, just across the river from our place. Not only is it the closest giardini (gardens) to our apartment, but it's also the most serene one that I enjoy visiting on my own. I also find it quite picturesque, which is why I always go with my macchina fotografica (camera) in hand.

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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.

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Living in Florence :: Handmade Weddings and Life

A few weeks ago, Silvia from Magnolia Wedding Planner contacted me through my blog to let me know that she was organizing a fiera (fair) called Handmade Weddings and Life. Shortly after hearing about the fiera, I found out that my friend Rebecca would also be one of the artigiani (artisans) to display her work. I thought my sister would enjoy it because when I was living in California before, we used to go to the Arts & Crafts fairs in our area.

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I have been a lover of crystals for many years, so when I heard about the Mostra dei Cristalli (Crystal Exhibition) I couldn't wait to go. I ended up waiting because the mostra (exhibition) opened in April and when I told my sister, she said she'd be interested in going. This morning we walked along the lungarno (street alongside the Arno) across the Ponte Vecchio, and down via Guicciardini. The sun was already heating up the air at this early time in the morning. We walked past Palazzo Pitti and down via Romana to Museo di Storia Naturale - La Specola where the mostra is on display.

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Living in Florence :: David is the symbol of the city of Florence

People from all over the world flock to see the statue of David at the Galleria dell'Accademia. Many walk slowly around him to study him from every angle while tour groups stop in front of him crowding around the front of the statue. "No photos please," one of the curators yells out at one of the numerous tourists who have tried to sneak a photo of David. Students with backpacks on their backs, flip-flops on their feet, and shirts from their universities shuffle past us while we sit in chairs in front of David. I wonder where someone can stand to best admire David, but really there's no one spot: he is a symbol of perfection from every angle.

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Living in Florence :: Bologna for the day

One of my sister's friends in California is originally from Bologna, so my sister went to visit her yesterday. Her friend asked that I come to Bologna for the day so that she could show off the best her city has to offer. My sister told her friend that we went a few years ago and weren't that enthusiastic about it. We had so-so food, and didn't find any good gelato (ice cream). Unfortunately, we didn't expect the city to shut down for lunch only because in Florence fewer and fewer of them do.

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For the Notturna di San Giovanni that will be held on June 20th, we have to either have a tessera FIDAL (FIDAL card) or a certificato medico (medical certificate) from a doctor to say that we are fit. Because my friend Erin and I want to keep our options open and possibly enter into other gare (races), we decided to get a tessera FIDAL for atletica leggera (track and field sports). There are a few ways to get one, but the easiest one I was told is to be a part of a sports association. Through Alessandro's work, all three of us signed up to get a tessera FIDAL, and today we had our visita medica per l'idoneitÓ agonistica (medical visit to see if we're fit for competitions).

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I'm happy to announce that Lisa McGarry has just published a new article on Florence from the Heart. Lisa's latest article is about Piazza della Signoria, which is a piazza that I walk through many times a week. I love how I feel as if I get to experience the piazza with Lisa. Not only does she point out some of the highlights, but also sprinkles in historical information that I find interesting.

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I was happy when my sister told me that she was coming to Florence for a week. I immediately started thinking about all the places I'd like to show her that I have discovered. I began making lists of places I want to show her and restaurants for us to eat at. The last time she was here was two years ago, and a few things have changed. There are new restaurants and shops for her to see. She knows Florence fairly well since she's come many times, but things change here and I'm excited to be her cicerone (guide).

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Mondays are generally the day I'm filled with the most hope. It's the beginning of the week and I am usually revved up to go by 8am. Today I have decided to do my cambio di stagione (change of season), which is when I change all the clothes in my armadio (closet) from winter to summer. Because the space in our apartment is minimal, it's necessary to do the cambio di stagione twice a year. It sounds like it'd be tedious, but I actually love it. It's when I know that we have turned a corner, and summer has finally arrived.

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Living in Florence :: Curva Fiesole

I was so happy when Alessandro surprised me with tickets to go watch the Fiorentina play their second to the last home partita (game). And as a bigger surprise, he got us tickets in the Curva Fiesole, which is the part of the stadio (stadium) behind the goal toward Fiesole. I was told, and also believe, that the Curva Fiesole is the heart of the stadio, but I didn't fully understand that until I went to the partita (soccer match) today.

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Living in Florence :: Mutu and Santana

The last thing I thought was going to do today was go back to the Fiorentina negozio (store) near the stadio (stadium) where the calciatori (soccer players) of the Fiorentina were visiting yesterday. But when Alessandro told me that he heard on the radio that Mutu and Santana were going to be there at noon, I couldn't pass up the occasione (opportunity). Mutu is an attacante (striker) along with Gilardino. Because it was such a nice day, I decided to ride my bicicletta and left early in hopes of beating the crowds.

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Living in Florence :: Gilardino and Montolivo

When Alessandro told me that some of the calciatori (soccer players) of the Fiorentina were going to be at a negozio (store) near the stadio (stadium), I had to go. When I read the blurb in the newspaper, I saw that a few of the calciatori would be going on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Because of other impegni (commitments), I couldn't make it until today. I found out that I missed a few calciatori, like Melo, Vargas, Frey, and Gamberini.

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As an American citizen even though I'm a legal resident in Florence, I do not have the right to vote for sindaco (mayor). I wish I was able to vote because I definitely have an opinion about who should be the sindaco of my beloved city. After living here in 1997 for a couple of years and then moving back five years ago, I have seen some changes that I haven't been happy with. Over just these last few years, the city has has unfortunately become dirtier and less safe. I get the feeling that many people have given up doing anything about it, and have let their city decline. However, with the upcoming elezioni (elections), the mood of the people has shifted. And for once I feel that hope has returned because many believe that change is once again possible.

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I know that commercialisti (tax accountants/business consultants) are absolutely necessary for the important work they provide, and I am grateful. However, to me they are more like magicians with tricks up their sleeves. They certainly know their job, which is difficult with all its intricacies and ever-changing laws, but most people I talked to didn't understand how they are billed each year and what their commercialisti actually do for them. Anyone who has a business, large or small, almost always has a commercialista.

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At 8:30 this morning Erin and I walked to the Duomo to pick up our magliette (t-shirts) for the Guarda Firenze, a non-competitive 10k corsa (race) through Florence. After we went to the stand to collect our magliette, we walked back to my place to drop them off. On the walk back to the punto di partenza (starting point) next to the Battistero, a few people were jogging down via Calzaiuoli to warm up. We stretched out near the punto di partenza where people slowly gathered all around us to begin the corsa.

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Living in Florence :: Local pastificio

I have walked past the pastificio (pasta shop) on via dei Rustici, which is a street off of via dei Neri, many times. When we first moved to our neighborhood, an older man owned it and I bought fresh tortelli from him a couple of times for my suoceri (in-laws). Since it has reopened, I hadn't been there because I rarely by fresh pasta. I don't know why since I generally love it. I kept thinking about going in to buy some fresh pasta, but just didn't feel the push to go in. Then, a friend of mine made lunch and used fresh pasta made by the pastificio, I knew it was time to go in to get some for myself.

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Living in Florence :: Bringing my camera to the soccer match

I love going to partite di calcio (soccer matches): the excitement, the people, and the giocatori (players) on the campo (field). Now that the weather is pleasant, it's a joy to go to the stadio (stadium) to watch the Fiorentina on a Sunday afternoon. Alessandro's friend and his father weren't going to the partita and gave us their abbonamenti (season tickets). On Thursday, Alessandro told me about our going to the partita, and I couldn't wait until today.

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