Before meeting up with Alessandro for lunch, I darted through Piazza della Signoria through the crowds of people, some taking in the view of the Palazzo Vecchio and others snapping pictures in front of it. I rushed down via Calzaiuoli avoiding the people entering and exiting the shops with large bags. At via del Corso, I bumped into a few friends and chatted for a little bit.
When Alessandro joined me, we walked to the front of the Duomo. I immediately pulled out my macchina fotografica (camera) and handed him my purse. I had already been by a few times to see the large albero di Natale (Christmas tree) placed at the intersection of via dei Martelli and via dei Cerretani, but I never had my macchina fotografica with me. Today with the sun shining brightly above, and not a cloud in sight, I had to come to take a photo of it.
While I was taking my picture, the brisk air swept past me and the smell of the albero tickled my nose. This is what Christmas smells like, pine trees. Around town, I often smell the caldarroste (roasted chestnuts), but I donít associate them with Christmas even though Iíve smelled them for years here and in France.
Seeing the albero di Natale in front of the Duomo makes me happy. I was especially pleased to see the red gigli (lilies), the cityís coat of arms, on the albero. For the past few years, the cityís albero di Natale has been placed in Piazza della Repubblica, so seeing it now in front of the Duomo is even more special. Itís as if the Duomo is returning as the center of the city, as I feel it truly is.
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