After Natale (Christmas) and the Nuovo anno (New Year), the final festa (holiday) that remains is Epifania (Epiphany) on January 6th. In three weeks, we celebrate three feste, which is exciting and yet a lot all at once. The Epifania is mostly a festa for children these days, but it's a good excuse to have a big lunch with the family. In Florence, the Epifania is probably more important than in other cities because the day after this festa is when all the saldi (sales) begin and last for almost six weeks.
Last Friday I watched the telegiornale (TV news program) and was surprised that in a few Italian cities, like Rome, Naples, and Milan the saldi begin four to five days before they do here in Florence. I asked a few people I know about this, and we've come to the conclusion that there is probably a law in Florence that dictates when the true saldi can begin.
To get around the law, some shops have already started promozioni (promotions) to give discounts to their customers, but the big saldi are still a big occasion most people wait for.
On the telegiornale, people were lining up in front of the stores early in the morning before they opened. Especially since Wednesday is a normal day in Florence with people going back to work and school. This year, Florence has emptied out for the feste with people coming back for the Nuovo anno to celebrate, but left again on the first.
I enjoy walking around the streets to see the bright lights and decorations left over from Natale and the colorful signs in the windows announcing the saldi. The spring clothing will soon be arriving and the wait for Pasqua (Easter), our next major festa, seems less long.
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