Let’s see, on day three now and getting my land legs under me after the heady, jet lagginess of the extreme travel of going from Chicago to Milano to Firenze. Woke up feeling great and ready to explore my surroundings with a fresher brain and rested body.
First thing out was a trip to the supermarket, where, yes, I was able to figure out the scale system for weighing and paying for fresh produce. I now have grapes, melon, radicchio, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. I also picked up a pack of meat which I will lovingly refer to as the “poor man’s steak florentine”, a pre-made package compromised of hamburger that sandwiches prosciutto, cheese and spinach. Wine and mosquito repellent also made it into my cart. Lots of mosquitoes here!
Oh, and in case you’re worried, I am living right across from a hospital so if anything happens, there's nothing to worry about.
A few things that are running around in my head before I continue on with the day. In no particular order of importance;
a. weighing myself in kilos makes me feel super skinny [note to self to change my own scale when I get home];
b. bidets are interesting pieces in all the bathrooms here. I want to wash my feet in them but that seems wrong;
c. I love, love, love the sound of the sirens here - think every classic romantic movie you’ve seen set in Italy with the 'weeee-oh weeee-oh' sound of sirens in the background;
d. I am living in the courtyard next to the DaVinci school and over morning coffee I can hear the teacher talking to her class. Teachers sound the same the world over;
e. back to the toilets, there aren’t handles but rather little pads to push which can be on the wall or the tank.
Okay, after bringing the groceries home, I decide to walk to the Piazza Di Santa Croce on recommendation from a friend to explore the clothing stalls and see if I can find some lovely linen. Ultimately I end up buying some beautiful frocks from a stall that is just a couple of blocks from home. But as I wandered through Piazza Di Santa Croce, I realize that I'm close enough to the Arno River to walk over and take that in.
By far my best experience was at a lovely leather shop where Sorriso the owner took me to the back room and showed us the leather factory [man working the patterns with a cigarette dangling from his lips]. My time with Sorriso was so beautiful. He’s been all over the United States with his leather wares and it is all so sumptuous. He graciously lets me practice my Italian with him and we discuss being artists. I bought a beautiful blue leather wallet from him and wanted to just hug him, but I’m not sure if that’s appropriate here or not. Better to err on the side of constraint [hard for me to do]. His shop is the Leather Factory at Via Bentaccordi, 8/R - stop by and meet him!
Paper shops! Omigod, the paper shops! The journals! The stationary! The cards! The paper models of carousels and buildings! This is a dangerous place for my new wallet.
I did stop and chat with a woman in the Piazza who had very beautiful art that I think I may have to return and purchase something from her. I have to keep reminding myself that I have 10 more days here and that I need to pace myself or I’ll definitely need to purchase another suitcase to get it all home. And yes, I probably will.
I head home to cool off as now we’re into the hottest part of the day. It’s nice to be so close to the Duomo because I can have these amazing experiences and head home for a respite, water refuel and decompression.
But of course I'm not done yet! I need to go to the art store and begin to gather supplies for my week in Drezzo. Yes! I cannot wait for the workshop in cold wax and oils. Zecchi Art Store was small and beautiful…and overwhelming. But I have some lovely paints and palette knives and paper…and yes there will be another trip back. I absolutely fell in love with the little jars of pigment. loved.
I then just wandered around taking in the city, stopping in shops and thinking about how old the city feels; the patina on the marble; the cobblestones and the glorious light that has been kissing my shoulders all day.