by Melinda Gallo

Before I left for Paris today, I felt a bit out of my own body for the past day or two as if a part of me had already begun the journey to Paris. I realize that going to Paris for two weeks sounds exciting and it is in some sense; however, it can also be stressful fitting my entire life (books, notebooks, pens, running gear, computer, work clothes, play clothes, and all my necessities) into one suitcase. I also am quite sad before I go because I know I will be apart from my beloved city.

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It suddenly hit me today that Iíll be leaving Florence in just a few days. Iím going to Paris again for work. Iím looking forward to my trip because I havenít been since May, but I already miss Florence. I tried not to think too much about leaving Florence, but this morning instead of going for a run, I decided to go for a walk up to Piazzale Michelangiolo so that I could take in my beloved city.

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There is something special about Palazzo Vecchio that I didnít realize until I visited it last Saturday. I have looked up at the torre (tower) every day since I went up the Torre díArnolfo. Each time, I canít stop myself from smiling. So much joy buzzes inside of me that I canít not be happy. I feel that deep connection with a few specific places in Florence, like Orsanmichele, San Miniato, and the Bargello. I didnít think that another place in Florence could become as special as those are to me.

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Living in Florence :: Indimenticabile!

The most indimenticabile (unforgettable) and exciting experience of my Florentine life happened today: I went to the top of the Palazzo Vecchio. Ever since Iíve been in Florence, Iíve walked by the Palazzo Vecchio and looked up, hoping that one day I could go to the top. I heard that years ago people were allowed to go up and have even seen pictures of people who were fortunate to go, but never did I imagine when I woke up this morning that I too would be able to finally live out one of my dreams!

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Living in Florence :: A day at Forte dei Marmi

All week I had been thinking about Thursday. I couldnít wait to plant my feet in the sand and feel the warm water crash against my legs. Because July 14th is a holiday in France and the French company I work for is closed, I thought I would take advantage of the holiday and go to the beach. I was initially going to go to Viareggio because itís the closest beach to Florence, but a friend of mine invited me to come to Forte dei Marmi. Since I had never gone there before, I thought it would be interesting to see it. I had heard a lot about Forte dei Marmi, but I wanted to see for myself.

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Iím fortunate to feel inspired quite easily these days. I usually feel inspired after I write in the mornings, but I seem to be even more inspired during my morning runs. At 7am, I was out the door and decided to run up the lungarno toward Ponte Vecchio instead of away from the centro (downtown area). It was early enough that traffic hadnít yet started and the sidewalks were practically empty.

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It dawned on me today that Iíve been focusing on the wrong things. Iíve bee absorbed with the noisy traffic below our apartment windows and the small space we live in, but I completely forgot out about how wonderful our apartment is. Itís a true chicca (gem).

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We havenít yet decided if we are moving or staying. There are a few reasons why weíd like to move: apartment isnít big enough to have overnight guests and the noise level has become a big high. But, there are so many reasons why we love it here: the view, the neighborhood feel, the people we know here, the terrace, and the overall coziness of the place. I have a desire to change apartments, so I visited a couple after scanning the Internet for hours. A couple of them did inspire me.

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For me, June was a difficult month. I felt the need to let go of a lot of things (including relationships with friends) in my life to see what would naturally stay and what would not. I felt a heavy silence come over me and even thought my well had run dry. I wasnít sure if my tank would fill back up again. I wondered if I should stop writing my blog and if I had anything more to say about my beloved city.

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The last week of June was probably the most stressful Iíve lived through in a long time. Maybe I wasnít the only one who felt the intensity of this last week. It was so bad that I kept my head down and rarely went out. We had a temporale (thunderstorm) on Friday that finally released the pressure. Before that, every day this week was hot and humid. I feel that there is certainly a link between the weather and my attitude. And, I see around me that Iím not the only one who is affected by the weather.

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