Saturday, August 30, 2008

Living in Florence :: From Lecce to Alberobello

When I woke up this morning, I had no idea that I'd be sleeping in a trullo. We haven't made any plans for our trip and have called hotels a few hours before arriving after finding one on-line. We walked around Lecce for a few hours after we had our breakfast on a terrazza (terrace) in the Piazza Sant'Oronzo where the anfiteatro romano (Roman amphitheater) is located.

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Living in Florence :: My grandmother's hometown: Craco

We spent the night in Matera and visited the Sassi di Matera in the early morning. We headed down the winding roads to Craco where my nonna (grandmother) was born. As we drove up to see the abandoned town of Craco, which is shown in the picture, I burst out crying. I had never met my nonna and yet suddenly felt close to her.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Living in Florence :: My grandfather's hometown: Orchi

Ever since I moved to Italy one of my biggest dreams has been to go to visit the two paesini (towns) where my nonni (grandparents) were born. Both of my father's parents were born in Italy, but grew up and met in New York. I never met them, but I have always wanted to see where they came from. And now that I live in Italy, I feel the pull to know more about them and to visit the paesino in Italy where they came from.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The new website I've been working on over the past few months has finally come to fruition. Florence from the Heart publishes articles, photos and videos from locals who want to share their experiences of life in Florence.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

My friend Erin moved to San Niccolò not long ago and after meeting at at Il Rifrullo to have a caffè (coffee) this morning, I took her to visit Giardino Bardini. I wanted to introduce her to the giardino as she lives so close to it now, and it was also another excuse for me to return. It was a little cloudy when we got there, but the sun quickly began to shine brightly on us.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Alessandro and I have been watching the Olimpiadi (Olympics) almost religiously every day at lunch since they began. It's interesting to watch the Olimpiadi in Italy because I have been exposed to sports that the Americans seem to focus on less. This is the first time that I have watched scherma (fencing) especially fioretto (foil) and spada (sword/epee), which I now appreciate much more now. When I watched the Olimpiadi in the US, I watched more swimming and gymnastics.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Living in Florence :: Giardino Bardini

I can see some of the Giardino Bardini from the windows of our apartment. I see the hillside with the manicured grass, stone steps, and two crowning statues. I have had no excuse to not go sooner as one of the entrate (entrances) is about five minutes away from our apartment on via dei Bardi. I look out often to the Giardino Bardini, but rarely see anyone walking around up there. I had some free time before lunch today and decided to finally visit the giardino.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I would normally shop for the best price for noleggiare una macchina (renting a car) on the Internet, but because in Florence almost all of the agenzie di autonoleggio (car rental agencies) are on or near Borgo Ognissanti I decided to get a preventivo (quote) in person. I rode my bicicletta (bicycle) down to Borgo Ognissanti, parked it, and went from one agenzia di autonoleggio to the next.

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Living in Florence :: Nowhere to park my bike

Not only is it illegal to park my bicicletta (bicycle) around any monumento (monument), but it's also illegal to park it behind or on the side of the rastrelliera (bike rack). It's bad enough that I could get a multa (fine) of up to 200 Euros, but what's worse is that they could tow it away like I saw them do in San Niccolò this weekend. I watched a man cut the catene (chains) with a pair of large shears and place the biciclette on the carro attrezzi (tow truck).

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

I don't think you have to be in Florence long to realize what a pest the zanzare (mosquitoes) are. If you're here for any period of time in the summer, you quickly realize that they can be quite ferocious. The longer you're here, the more you realize you have to buy a plethora of products to keep them away as well as to find relief once you've been bitten.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

I woke up to the rumblings of thunder this morning. For ferragosto (mid-August holiday), it was the most unexpected weather. Normally, it's a hot and sunny day like the past few we've had. It's the holiday many people who aren't going away for August look forward to. Everything is closed, the locals have left, and a blanket of quiet covers the city. The streets were certainly peaceful this morning, but the sound of a storm loomed close by.

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

I never realize how set I am in my ways until I am forced to go to a new negozio da parrucchiere/parrucchiere (hair salon). My usual parrucchiere (male hairdresser) is on holiday, the one closest to my apartment is also closed, and so I had no choice but to find a new parrucchiere. I talked to a few of the ones that I'd seen in centro (downtown), but only one that I liked was open on the day before Ferragosto (mid-August holiday). I don't blame them for wanting to get a head-start on the festa (holiday) since the city has emptied out quite a bit.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I moved my bicicletta (bicycle) from the chains that surround the monument in my piazza to a side street near our apartment. Because of the new leggi (laws) that they passed not long ago, I felt that it'd be better to move my bicicletta from the well-lit piazza because I might have gotten a multa (fine) otherwise. When I walked by my bicicletta yesterday, I noticed that someone had removed the sella (seat). I used to also look at it every time I was at the window, but now my bicicletta is out of eyeshot.

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Because I can get a good gelato (ice cream) any time I want in Florence, I tend to rarely go and eat one. In the summer, I generally get one when I'm walking around after dinner outside or with friends who come to Florence for a visit. Almost everyone who comes to visit always want to have a gelato and a cappuccino, but not in that order. I don't blame them. They are two of my favorite things to eat in Italy. And, today I was fortunate enough to have a cappuccino and two gelati (ice creams).

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

At the beginning of August, I always find myself feeling a bit melancholy. Sometimes I try not to let the sadness in my heart come out, but sometimes it gets the best of me. My mother's birthday was today, my grandmother's (my mother's mother) was yesterday, and my dad's birthday was Friday. They are days that I used to celebrate with them, but now that they're gone, I find them to be the most unbearable days of the year for me.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Living in Florence :: Cappelle Medicee

This morning a little before 8am, I was on my way to the Mercato Centrale near San Lorenzo so that I could get some fresh pesce (fish) and I decided to visit the Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels). I walked past the Cappelle Mediceeand read that it opened at 8:15 am. I walked to a pasticceria (pastry shop), Pasticceria Sieni, where I had a cappuccino and a warm sfoglia con crema (puff pastry with cream). I find their sfoglie to be the best in Florence because they are cooked in such a way that the sugar on the outside is perfectly caramelized.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Living in Florence :: I Grandi Bronzi del Battistero

I'm almost embarrassed to say that my last visit to my favorite museum, Museo del Bargello, was over two and a half years ago. I walk by the museo (museum) often and I had hoped to go back more often, but I just haven't had a chance. There are so many other things that I want to see in centro (downtown) and sometimes I get busy with work, seeing my friends or visiting new exhibitions that I don't have the time to visit my favorite monumenti (monuments) and musei. It's easy to put things off when things are so accessible, but I try to set aside time when I can for my cultural visits in Florence.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

August is the month when almost everyone takes off on vacanza (vacation) usually either before or after Ferragosto (August 15th). Because so many of my amici are going away at some time during the month of August, there is a mad rush to see everyone before they leave.

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Living in Florence :: Un anno sull'Arno

Today marks the one year anniversary of our living in our apartment sull'Arno (along the Arno). Not only did we move into this apartment, but we also moved in together for the first time. We have both been loving our apartment sull'Arno. Alessandro wasn't convinced on living in centro (downtown) at first because he thought it would be too loud and crazt. I was happy when I overheard him telling his friends the other night that he loved living in centro.

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