by Melinda Gallo

Living in Florence :: Buon Natale!

The church bells just chimed throughout the city, signaling the midnight mass for Natale (Christmas). Unfortunately the neve (snow) has melted and now it is raining, but the luci (lights) on a tree at the Giardino Bardini across the Arno from our place are shining brightly in the shape of a albero di Natale (Christmas tree). May you all enjoy a Buon Natale with your loved ones and families!

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Living in Florence :: Bandiere e luci

I love Natale (Christmas) in Florence. This year we even had some neve (snow), which was a nice treat. Normally, every eyar luci (lights) are strung up on many streets in centro (in the downtown area) that set the tone for the holiday season. They even put them on early this year to entice shoppers to start buying early. A few weeks ago, they also put up bandiere (flags) for the different quartieri (quarters) of the city to bring some extra color to the streets as well. Tonight while I walked around the city to shop for regali (gifts) and pensierini (little gifts), I took a couple of foto (photos) of the strade (streets).

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Living in Florence :: Snow not melting

Even though temperatures didn't increase on Saturday after the nevicata (snowfall), I didn't think that we would still have snow the next day. When I looked out my window this morning, I thought that maybe the sun would warm up the city and melt the snow, but it didn't. I saw snow on the buildings and treetops across the Arno so I grabbed my macchina fotografica (camera) and ran out the door. When I got outside, the temperatures seemed much colder than yesterday, so I knew that the snow wasn't going anywhere.

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Living in Florence :: Snow in the city

Last night I went to a friend's for a small party and brought my macchina fotografica (camera) with me. On the news, they had been talking about the possibility of snow in Florence for the past few days. With the misty white sky we had all day, I knew it was going to snow. My friend turned off the lights in her apartment when she noticed the snow falling outside the windows. I was so excited that I couldn't wait to get outside to take some foto (photos).

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If I didn't open the finestre (windows) this morning, I would have thought it was a warm day. When I approached my finestre, I could already feel the cold wafting from the glass. When I opened the persiane (shutters), the cold air surprised me. The clear sky was a light blue thanks to the winter sun casting its soft light from behind the hills and onto the city.

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Living in Florence :: Lucia's book presentation

I marked my friend Lucia's presentation on my calendar weeks ago and even though I just returned form a long one-day trip to Liverpool, I wouldn't have missed it for the world. She presented her new book, L'UnitÓ debole: Lettere dell'ambasciatore americano George P. Marsh sull'Italia unita, which I had the honor to review in The Florentine this week as well. The presentation took place in the Sala Ferri del Gabinetto Vieusseux in Palazzo Strozzi, which is an extraordinary library.

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Living in Florence :: Prima trasferta a Liverpool

At 4am this morning, Alessandro and I were driving along the deserted lungarno (street alongside the Arno river) to meet up with our friend Filippo and another couple. I wasn't fully awake, but extremely excited to go on my first trasferta (away game) to watch the Fiorentina play against Liverpool in the Champions League. After Fiorentina won the home game against Liverpool, we couldn't wait for today's partita (soccer match).

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Living in Florence :: Changes in the city

I love how Florence is constantly changing. One day a piazza is empty and the next day a mercato (market) has taken up the entire space. I was just in Piazza di Santa Croce a few weeks ago and it was empty. But when I walked down via dei Bentaccordi and looked down Borgo dei Greci the other day, I saw that the annual Mercato di Natale (Christmas Market) had arrived. In the US, I know Christmas is right around the corner when all the sales are launched right after Thanksgiving, but here in Florence, it's this mercato.

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Living in Florence :: Another vantage point

I realized today that I'm a creature of habit: I walk down the same streets and go to the same areas. Today, however, I went to see a friend of mine at her office. I walked down via del Sole, hopping up and down the marciapiede (sidewalk) while other people were coming toward me. When I saw the chiesa (church) Santa Maria Novella, I was surprised to see it without the impalcatura (scaffolding) on its facciata (fašade). I've been past it only a few times in the last year, but either at night or without my macchina fotografica (camera). Even though I was running a little late, I stopped to take a few quick foto (photos).

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