This morning, like every morning since I returned to Florence, I walked to Vivoli where I have colazione (breakfast). I not only go for the caffè (coffee) and paste (pastries), but also for the women who work there. Over the years, we have become quite friendly. Every time I return to Florence, I go there so I can catch up with them while I enjoy a good caffè.
Today they asked me about my experience in French cafés. I told them that it’s not the same as in Florence. People in France are cordial, but not necessarily friendly. At first, they were surprised because they said that when the French come in, they are open and cheery with them. I explained that when people are on vacation they become more open to meeting people than when they are in their own environments.
One of the women told me that what people seem to love the most about Italy is their friendliness. I agree; however, I have noticed that the Florentines aren’t just friendly, but are also sincere. The Florentines have a way of welcoming me back to my beloved city that makes me miss it even more when I’m away.
While we were chatting, one woman was making a cappuccino for a client standing next to me at the bar. I watched her as she poured the hot milk into the white porcelain cup with the coffee in it. Right before the milk arrived the rim of the cup, she flicked her wrist and the milk mixed with the coffee made a heart. I smiled at the woman and told her, “Ecco l’Italia. Un cappuccino col cuore. That’s Italy. A cappuccino with a heart.”
I finished my colazione, wished my friends a good day, and walked home. Every day that I went to get my cappuccino col cuore, I felt as if I were walking on air. I certainly feel at home in my beloved city thanks to the Florentines who welcome me back each time.
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