Last night when I peeked out onto the piazza, I saw that they were marking the ground with chalk. It looked like there was going to be a small mercatino (small market). I was so excited that I couldn't wait for morning. Today is the Festa dell'Immacolata Concezione (Immaculate Conception Holiday), so most people don't work in Italy although many shops downtown were open. Via Calzaiuoli was so busy that we had to take the back streets and walk behind the Duomo to get to via dei Servi.
For me today is the beginning of the Christmas season. Even though I work independently, I felt like I was on holiday as well today. I couldn't go to the palestra (gym) or mercato (market) this morning, so my day felt different.
At the mercatino, my friend Rossana and I went to each of the bancarelle (stalls) to see what people have to sell. Each bancarella sold something different: miele (honey), ceramica (ceramics), spezie (spices), sciarpe (scarfs), gioielli (jewelry), and much more.
After I purchased a cestino (basket) of crayon-filled tree branches, I asked the girl how long they were going to be in the piazza. When she told me only today, I called Dave to come dare un'occhiata (have a look around). We ended up not bumping into each other.
I bought some gifts for friends as well as a couple of things for our place. Luckily, the mercatino was right under our front door so that it wasn't too difficult to carry things home.
At 5PM, the sun had already set and I went home. From our terrazza (terrace), I looked down at it some more and watched the people milling around. It got a little noisy when cars were honking at pedestrians to cross the street. The church bells chimed and many people started moving. I assume they went off to la Messa (mass).
I did find out from another person at the mercatino that after the mercato di Natale tedesco (German Christmas Market) leaves Piazza Santa Croce, many of the same people will be there for a few days before Christmas. I'm excited to go to another mercatino before Christmas. They are especially great to find unique gifts for friends and family.
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