Ieri sera, last night, we went out for a walk after our dinner. Florence is so beautiful and alive in the evenings, especially where we are on the Oltrarno. There’s a wonderful little paper shop set into a building that ends in a triangle. The owner was lovely. I wanted to buy something, but it will be a challenge if I can even close my suitcase.
Next we wandered over by Piazza Santo Spirito and stopped at a Fiaschetteria for a glass of wine of Via dei Serragli, a wonderful street full of neighborhood Florentines stopping by after work. We sat in the little area outside, and the owner, Carlo, sent out little plates of the best spaghetti arrabiatta (angry pasta sauce– with peppers). It’s a law in Italy that you can’t serve alcohol without food to go along with it. Then it was time for gelato at our favorite place across town, Vivoli. So we were walking through the Piazza della Signoria to admire Perseus and Medusa by Cellini, when a handsome man came out of nowhere and greeted Melissa. I thought of Dad, who referred to her as the Lady Melissa, and it certainly seemed that this man was greeting her as if she were royal. His name is Francesco, and his friend is also Francesco. As soon as we told him we were from Austin, he said, “Stevie Ray VauG-h-n! I love Steve Ray VauG-h-n, pronouncing the G. Italians have no silent letters. It’s interesting how Europeans revere him, and too many Americans, outside of Austin, don’t even know who he is. Francesco was impressed when I told him I heard him play in 1982. We began talking in Italian and English, and both, but especially Melissa’s Francesco, were very entertaining. He immediately tagged me estraverso and Melissa as introverso, and is a psychologist studying different problems, such as dyslexia and autism in children. So, they walked with us over to Vivoli. My Francesco, an avocato, speaks no English, but we had a conversation in Italian all the way to Vivoli. They paid for our gelati and then we strolled back. They wanted us to go out with them for longer, but we parted ways near the Ponte Vecchio. Melissa’s Francesco was so smitten, he kept hugging her goodbye, kissing her on both cheeks, hugging her again, then kissing me on both cheeks. It was hilarious and so Italian.
Today is our last day in Florence. We’re going to get the most out of our Amici degli Uffizzi cards by going to the Pitti Palace, the Biboli Gardens, and the Bargello sculpture museum, mainly to see Donatello’s David.