by Melinda Gallo

La Mostra dell'Artigianato

One of my favorite things to do in Florence is go to the annual Mostra dell'Artigianato. I love to check out the different artists and craftsmen who present and sell their work. This year again, it was held at the Fortezza da basso (pictured here), which is located behind the train station.

Living in Florence :: La Mostra dell'Artigianato

Today, I met up with Marie, who contacted me through my blog a few months ago, and her cousin Paula. We met last Sunday as well and got along so well that we decided to see each other again. We were planning on having lunch together, but because I don't feel like going over the weekend when the mostra will be crowded, we decided to go today.

We picked up a taxi at Piazza Santa Croce. We could've walked, but I also had to be home early and I didn't want to waste any time. When we got to the taxi station, it began to sprinkle. I had my rain jacket, but no umbrella. They didn't have rain jackets or umbrellas and were contemplating going back home. I told them that we'd be mostly inside, so we just hopped in the taxi and went.

Today the biglietto was almost half price since it's the last weekday of the mostra before the weekend. We were happy to walk so freely inside. There weren't many people. We picked up maps as we walked in and were surprised at how many buildings there were.

We walked past many banconi (stands) with summer skirts, hand-made jewelry, sandals, cotton knit sweaters, and scarfs. I purchased a few things that caught my eye. My favorite area was the padiglione (pavillion) called "Visioni." This was where many craftsmen were selling pottery, ceramics, jewelry, and other original artwork.

Marie, Paula, and I parted ways because I didn't want to rush them and there were still three big padiglioni to check out. We did meet up again when we found ourselves at the same snack area. We walked into one padiglione together where they had put sheets up in front of the banconi. At first, we didn't know why they did this since people were inside walking around. Finally, on one of them it said that they were sciopero (strike) against the organization of the mostra.

I left soon after and because the rain subsided, I decided to walk to the bus stop near the train station. When I got to the bus stop there was a sign that the buses were on a sciopero as well. I had to walk home even though I was exhausted from walking around the mostra all morning.

The streets were crowded, so I went down the back streets as much as possible. Florence is a little crowded with tourists for the big weekend since Monday is festa (a holiday). Luckily it didn't take me that long to get home. I was happy when I opened my door, sat down, and showed Dave all my new purchases.

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