by Melinda Gallo

Touring around Florence with my niece

After another picnic lunch today, I took my niece to get her afternoon gelato. Her parents went shopping and the two of us got to hang out together. I love spending time with my niece alone. It's fun to walk down the street holding her hand. She enjoys looking at the buildings and streets and is quite aware of what is going on around her.

Living in Florence :: Touring around Florence with my niece

Our first stop was to the Paperback Exchange where I browsed their latest arrivals while she looked at the children's books. The man at the counter said, "Come sei stata brava! Non ti sei lamentata mentre tua mamma guardava i libri." (What a good girl you were! You didn't complain while your mom was looking at books). I didn't correct him because when people see me with my niece, they think she's my daughter.

Afterwards, I took her to Pegna to see if we could find a few goodies for her parents, like pâté di olive (olive paste) and miele al tartufo (truffle honey).

We went to GROM, a gelateria in a side street off the Duomo (whose picture I included here), that boasts "un gelato come una volta" (ice cream as it once was). I had walked past it a few times, but never tried it. Today I decided to go in for a taste. My niece, having already had her gelato, was supposed to just taste mine, but ended up eating half of my gelato, which was fiordilatte (a delicate milky ice cream). I must say that it was probably the best gelato I've had and I can't wait to take Dave there.

We visited the Museo dell'Opera di S. Maria del Fiore where I was let in at a reduced price, because I'm a resident in Florence, and the man at the counter let her in for free even though she's a year older than the age at which children can enter for free. I held her in my arms, even though she's a bit big for that, and we admired the amazing works by Luca Della Robbia, Donatello, Michelangelo and many others that were on display. She went to the Accademia yesterday morning and so she wanted to compare the David with the statues in this museum.

I took her to a few shops to purchase a few trinkets for her after we left the museum. I love being her aunt so I can spoil her a little bit when I see her. Because I don't see her that often, I treasured every moment with her. And for each smile that spread across her face, I couldn't have been happier.

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