…ieri…oggi (Ides of March)…domani…

When you are a ‘stranger in a strange land’, things are different. Every day things…small things…seem bigger…maybe that is why there is so much anxiety about stepping outside one’s comfort zone…read hearth and home.

As we enter our third week in Florence the basics are getting easier. The paths to the best places to ‘hunt and gather’ are better known. For instance we definitely know the shortest route to Essalunga (Safeway like grocery store). Distance is important when you are carrying all that you’ve gathered in a backpack. And with the guidance and patience of Silvia (our landlady) we now know where to find a butcher (macelleria) where we found…and bought…involtini di manzo (little, stuffed rolls of beef)…to be cooked for tonight’s dinner. We also learned that Macelleria Tordi can provide…with a little notice everything from chop meat to osso bucco.

A short jog around the Piazza della Liberta (surrounded by a busy 6 lane round-a-bout four blocks from ‘home’) is Gastronomia Galanti. (www.gastronomiagalanti.com) It is a wonderful, super delicatessen…you can grab a cafe (espresso) and pasta (pastry)…a simple lunch sandwich (pannini)…a few slices of plain roast beef or vegetables…or scaloppine al limone (either veal or chicken)…not to mention risotto, ravioli and tagliatelle with and assortment of perfect sauces. And a ready cooked meal would not be complete without desert (dolce).

And the last thing I will say about food for now was learning that …ieri…yesterday… was the official end of roasted chestnuts (castagne) at a small cart in the historic center. In just a few weeks I got to know the chestnut man…and while not on a first name basis I communicated my love of roasted chestnuts and he gladly sold me many small, expensive bags of the hot snacks. I did learn that he will be back in November…same cart…same corner.

Chestnut Man

Silvia and her husband, Francesco, have been very kind to us strangers in their land…both born and raised in Florence.  They invited us to join them and some friends to check out an event at a newly renovated theater…Teatro Nicolli.  The renovation was nicely done and the ‘event’ turned out to not be one…but we then were introduced to a small Sicilian restaurant (4 hi-top tables and a stand-up counter) that served arancini…fried rice balls with various aromatic fillings…yum.  Followed by several desert options…cannolis (those wonderful fried tubes filled with sweet ricotta) and traditional southern Italian cassatas and several pistachio confections (seems pistachios are big on Sicily) (www.arasicilia.it)…definitely worth a return visit.

ara: e Sud Sicilian Dolce

What’s the biggest food festival in Italy?  Some would say it is Taste of Firenze.  For the last number of years hundreds of purveyors  (over 300 in 2016) of all things gastronomic converge on Florence for three days of sharing their special product…bread, oil, prosciutto, olives, wine, dolce, condiments, etc…with a sales pitch…a taste…and a typical Italian smile and shrug.  Taste is held every year in an old train station…Stazione Leoplda on the western side of Florence, just outside the historic center. (http://pastamorelli.it/en/event/taste-firenze-2016/)

Sorry…I had to step away…I’m multi-tasking…We’re taking another run at doing laundry, as the sun is shining brightly…oggi…today…

Tonight (stasera) is our first event with the ex-pat community…Internations.  A welcome to Spring mixer with 26 nations represented by 91 attendees.  I have corresponded with several embers before moving to Florence, so this will be an opportunity to do a face-to-face and fortunately most will speak better English than our Italian.  Although after a few weeks our vocabulary is beginning to show signs of growth…

…domani…tomorrow…

The days ahead are full of promise…friends Berry and Pat visiting from Paris in a few weeks…trying out our new City bus passes…lunch with our friend Ann who is back in Florence for awhile…more restaurants to try…delivery of desk chairs and a printer to compliment our joint work stations in the living room…and preparations for Florence’s ‘New Year’ celebration on 25 Marzo…the Annunciation…for the Catholics among us…that is the day the virgin Mary is told by an angel that she is going to have a baby…in exactly 9 months and to get ready.  The procession and pageantry should be interesting and it all happens in our neighborhood.  And then two days later on Easter Sunday I hope to photograph the Scoppio del Carro…daytime pyrotechnics…and ‘exploding’ cart.  Bunnies and egg hunts…meh.

Scoppio del Carro (Photo from Visit Florence Website)

Stay tuned…

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Joe Messina Written by:

3 Comments

  1. Jim Moule
    March 15, 2016
    Reply

    Looks like you are having a great time in Firenze.!

  2. Belinda
    March 15, 2016
    Reply

    I love walking on the streets of Florence
    Thru your words…but I’m stuffed and must
    Rest .😘

  3. Melody
    March 16, 2016
    Reply

    Wonderful travelogue, keep the news coming The colors you captured with the “dolce” photo were so very vibrant. ..and I’m sorry, did you say something about exploding bunnies?

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