A glimpse of the Duomo from Piazza San Giovanni

The Duomo is Florence’s gothic cathedral and some say it’s the city’s geographical and spiritual heart. It’s stunning. It’s not far from where I’m staying and so I get to see it every day to get wherever I’m going.

I’m having fun learning my way around. I’ve been trying to do it without looking at a map all the time but each day I get so hot (it’s been in the 80s) and my feet and legs ache from all the walking and I’ve taken so many wrong turns (so much for thinking I have a good sense of direction) that I now pull out my map as soon as I’m unsure. But it is coming together and I have more moments of “oh, I see where I am.” There are monumental and historic sites everywhere you turn as well as little winding vias. Today I impressed myself and found two bookstores that sell books in English and a supermarket, Conads, where I bought a salad and more cheese wrapped in prosciutto and biscottis. I also bought a nice bottle of Sangiovese di Toscana for only 3,9 euros.

My room is large and sunny with a shower, sink, bidet and a LavAzza espresso machine! I have a lovely view of the terrace from my room (picture on last post.)

Mio Albergo (hotel) is run by a sweet couple, Pino and Carmel. Pino is Italian and Carmel is from Boston’s Italian North End. Carmel is fluent in Italian and her English has a Boston accent. They’ve run this place since the early 90’s. Yesterday afternoon when I got home she was in the kitchen/dining room area (which is on the way to my room) watching a French film on a small television and he was sunbathing on the terrace…so European, I thought.

Carmel has invited me out with her girlfriends some night for wine and cheese or Prosecco. Tonight they’ve invited me to a party on the terrace. I’m thinking it’s just for the guests here…will see…

Lastly for today -the language. I studied some Italian at home and in my car with a language cd and phrase book and thought I was picking up a lot but every time someone asks me something in Italian, I freeze, and then I want to flee, and then I think of an answer in Spanish. Oy vey, I hope I relax a little and start taking more risks with the language. Here’s what I do know:

Ciao – informal hi and/or bye

Buongiorno – hello

Buonasera – good evening

Buonanotte – good night

Arrivederci – good bye


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