I love Natale (Christmas) in Florence. This year we even had some neve (snow), which was a nice treat. Normally, every eyar luci (lights) are strung up on many streets in centro (in the downtown area) that set the tone for the holiday season. They even put them on early this year to entice shoppers to start buying early. A few weeks ago, they also put up bandiere (flags) for the different quartieri (quarters) of the city to bring some extra color to the streets as well. Tonight while I walked around the city to shop for regali (gifts) and pensierini (little gifts), I took a couple of foto (photos) of the strade (streets).
Most of the streets were packed with people walking in and out of negozi (shops) searching for regali. I love it when it's night and the streets are still well frequented. It makes the city seem so much more alive. Once the shops closed, however, the streets slowly emptied.
It's normal for me to greet at least one person that I know when walking around the centro, but at Natale, I always seem to bump into people I haven't seen in a long time. Today, I met up with a girl whom I haven't seen in three years and another girl who used to live here in 1999, and is just visiting Florence. It's as though everyone migrates to the centro at this time of year. I always wonder if I sit in Piazza Repubblica or on the steps of the Duomo that I might even see more people I know.
The temperatures have gone up so much in the past few days that it's almost unbelievable. The day after it snowed, it was -6°C (21°F) and today it was 16°C (61°F). It still feels like Christmas even though all the snow has melted thanks to the luci and busy streets. Many of my friends have left to be with their families in the US, but I'm happy to be here at Natale.
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