We’ve been in Florence for almost two weeks now and we’ve settled down quite happily. It could be said we feel at home.
Our apartment is very comfortable, with its 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, separate kitchen and dining room and enormous living area and balcony. The girls’ room is on the second floor, reached by an old and squeaky wooden staircase. They’ve christened it Sleeping Beauty’s Castle…
Just across from where we are we have the best gelato in town at Gelateria de Medici – I should know… I’ve tried a few-, pharmacy and hairdresser (I’ll tell you about my experience there another time). Bus stop and train station 2 minutes away and supermarket and fresh pasta shop 5 blocks away.
We walk everywhere, e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y! It takes us 25 minutes (2km) to get to the city centre, so we are all getting quite fit! I never thought I would see my kids walk so much everyday without complaints, but as Nika pointed out, in this city stories find you because history is everywhere. It’s like living in the XXI st Century Renaissance.
Architecture, people, even cars are different here. I love cars, I’ve always have and I wish I could get into one of those mini car/motorcycle-with-doors we see all around town! You should see how they park. It’s almost like there are no rules. Everything goes, as long as it fits. And this, of course, includes the sidewalk.
People, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, they all intermingle in the tiny streets of Florence; miraculously no one gets injured.
I confess that walking with three children in the middle of the city can sometimes be quite challenging, specially when the sidewalk suddenly ceases to exist or when the street is so narrow one has to play “you can’t get me” with the passing cars’ rear mirrors.
Shops in Firenze are quite different too. It takes some time to get used to but once you do, it all makes sense. For example, in a parrucchiere, or hair salon, they not only cut, style and colour hair but they also do manicures, pedicures and all other estetica services (facials, massages and various beauty treatments).
Supermarkets are half the size of the ones back home and are very crowded. Products sit on shelves and hanging from both sides of the aisles. It takes good set of trolley driving skills to get through those! But only after figuring out how to detach the shopping trolley from the chain it is attached to (a coin has to be inserted in the handle to release the trolley. Once you’ve finished using it, the lock should be reinserted to get the coin back — someday somebody will thank me for this tip).
Last but not least, gelato shops. Seems like there is one every couple of blocks, although be warned, quality can vary significantly from one gelateria to another.
Every city has its own charm, but as we all know, Italians are known worldwide for they food and their… passion. In Florence, this passion is in the air.
And we love it!