Knowing that I was going to be in Florence for 3 months was exciting. I wasn’t staying in a hotel with all of the usual amenities and services. I had rented a little apartment in a local neighborhood called San Frediano. There aren’t any tourists here – mostly just locals. Perfect. Because I wanted to get as close to living an Italian girl as I could. And living in a hotel wasn’t going to do that for me.
Upon arrival to my (very empty!) apartment, I stepped inside, closed the door and stood in the middle of the room: what do I do now? I’m tired, I’m hungry, It’s dark outside, the refrigerator is empty, and I don’t know where to go. Uh-oh, what on Earth have I gotten myself into?
I decided to go to sleep and worry about it when the sun came up.
At 6:am I decided to step out into broad daylight for the first time. Wow! How cool is this? My little street is densely lined with old crackled little buildings, inhabited by Florentines and shops and restaurants with never-ending aromas. Amazing… it really does look Italian! I went in search for my first cup of coffee and found something even better: a real Cappuccino! Ah, I’ve arrived!
Determined not to get lost in the myriad of seemingly randomly placed streets and alleyways, I drew a little map as I walked. And I walked, and I walked. It’s easy to see why other cultures are so thin – they walk everywhere and there is so much to see on the way to anywhere.
I passed little shops and restaurants, all the while being absolutely sure that I greeted every person I saw with a big smile and a hardy “Buon Giorno.” The locals are not afraid to talk to strangers. And boy can they talk. One little “Good Morning” from me, and they thought I was a long lost relative whom they have not seen for decades. I have no clue what they said, but I smiled and even offered a little chuckle at those seemingly opportune moments, then proceeded on my way.
And a mighty fine Buon Giorno it was.