by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Piazza Duomo now a pedestrian area

By 10am this morning I was walking down via dei Neri toward the Uffizi. I had planned to visit the Palazzo Vecchio because today is La Giornata del Fiorentino (Florentine Day) when they offer free visite guidate (guided tours) for residents. But because it was only a cloudy day and I felt like staying outside, I decided to walk toward the Duomo where some important festivities were taking place. Today all the streets around the Duomo are now closed to make the area pedonale (pedestrian). I had gone to the Duomo yesterday to take a few foto (pictures) with cars, buses, and motorini (scooters) passing by for the last time before this historic change.

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Living in Florence :: A guided tour of the Jewish Synagogue

I had been looking forward to this day for a long time. I signed up to go on a guided tour of the Jewish Synagogue in Florence, organized by The Florentine. After living in Florence for many years, I had never visited the sinagoga (synagogue) before. I had made plans a few times to go with a couple of different friends, but unfortunately it never happened. On my way to the sinagoga this afternoon, I walked past Santa Croce and looked up at the Star of David on the facciata (façade) of the chiesa (church). I hadn't known the relationship between that symbol and the sinagoga. Little did I know that during the guided tour, I'd find out.

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Living in Florence :: Una passeggiata in centro

After having a caffè (coffee) with a girlfriend this morning, I went for a passeggiata (walk) around centro (downtown). I don't go in centro on the weekends because the streets are usually crowded. I had been wanting to take foto (photos) for a while because we've had clear blue skies this entire week. A few times this last week, I had been walking around and regretted not having my macchina fotografica (camera). I slowed down my usually fast pace to take in the details of buildings and enjoy the city.

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I was invited by a friend to attend a special event at the Palazzo Tornabuoni yesterday that was reserved for club members. The biographer Victoria Glendinning and the literary agent Al Zukerman were scheduled to speak informally to a small group of people. I arrived early to the Palazzo Tornabuoni and was greeted by the man at the door. After finding my name on his list, another man escorted me inside to the elevator and told me to go to the first floor. Another man who took the elevator up showed me the way to the luxurious library with couches, chairs, and tables organized in small groups. The room was lined with books organized by subject, which was shown at the top of the bookshelf. There was a bar at the end of the library with two men who greeted me when I walked in. I had arrived early and settled myself down on a couch that faced one of the walls of books.

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I have been enjoying writing the Expats in Florence articles for The Florentine. It's a great opportunity for me to meet new people who live in Florence, hear their stories, and share them with others. The first few articles were about people I knew personally. A few of them were the inspiration for me to write the articles in the first place. I have a long list of people that I'd like to interview as well as new names getting added quite often.

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I usually love Mondays because they mark the beginning of the week. I love them so much that I was even excited that my birthday fell on a Monday this year so that I could start off the week with a bang. Unfortunately a few of my last minute plans were cancelled due to it falling on a Monday. I don't generally plan in advance, because things always seem to fall into place. To start off my birthday I decided on one thing the day before: I would take the day off of work and do only what I wanted to do all day.

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After having a coffee with one of my girlfriends this morning, I got home and called Alessandro. I often stand at my finestra (window) when I'm talking on the phone so that I can look out at the piazza and stare at the Arno. I love seeing who is walking by and what's going on outside. I usually glance over to where I park my bicicletta (bicycle) in front of the Camera di Commercio just to see if someone has put trash in my cestino (basket). Today, however, when I looked out, I noticed that my bicicletta was missing.

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Living in Florence :: The first of October

When I peeked my head out the window this morning, I saw that the weather had changed just a little. A few weeks ago, we had a couple of cool days, then some rain, and just last week the sun came back out and the temperatures were warm all over again. When I opened the persiane (shutters), it was cool and low clouds were scattered across the sky. For me it was a sign of the beginning of my favorite season, autunno (fall).

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