Solo Italian Adventures

13 Jul

Sorry mom, I went out alone today.

I slept until about 10:00 am and left the house by 11:15 am to do some shopping and have a small lunch before class at 3:30 pm. I walked across the river and into the heart of Florence. Surprisingly, I did not get lost. I even took streets that aren’t on my I-know-this-way-by-heart route and was able to navigate without doubling-back.

I poked around the department store Coin (pronounced co-een) but it was just like shopping at Macy’s. A really cramped Macy’s. I ventured into a beauty, swimwear and lingerie store called Yamamay. I browsed a few more stores before I made it to the large street market. I got a few souveniers for people back home and then, I found my favorite street artist.

He’s the only street artist in this part of town. The others line up one-by-one along the curb in direct competition with each other in the big piazzas outside the cathedrals. This man sits alone crammed between packed kiosks of leather bags and belts, silk scarves, and other typical Italian souvenirs. He’s friendly and he’s always working on a new painting (the other artists just hang back and wait for people to approach). We made small talk and when he found out I’m a student I’m not sure if he offered to teach me how to do etchings or if he was interested in teaching for the program I’m with (language barrier, what can I say?) As I was going through his finished pieces, he realized I was only interested in his paintings of sunflower fields, so he offered to paint two right in front of me that way I could pick whichever I like better.

As he was painting, a British couple started looking at his works. A few minutes later he finished and I had already decided that it was impossible to choose between the two, seeing as he painted them both just for me. I bought them both, along with a third. The British woman asked if I was going to hang them all together and I said, “Yes” to which she commented, “Oh, they’re going to be beautiful!” I replied with and enthusiastic and excited, “I know!” In retrospect, that was probably not the most modest answer but I don’t think she was upset with it either. I do still need to go back for the last and biggest piece. I already know how I want to hang them once they’re framed. I can’t wait to put up my personalized Italian art!

That was the last souvenier I bought before heading back towards my apartment to get ready for class. I found this great little bakery/deli near my school and next door to this amazing gelato place. I picked up some insalata di pasta (rotini noodles with halved cherry tomatoes, black olives, thinly sliced zuchini and feta cheese tossed in olive oil) for lunch and gelato (of course) for dessert (mint and dark chocolate, yum!).

I’m home after class now and am about to start packing for our weekend in Rome. Quite a few people are going out to see the new Harry Potter at midnight tonight but we have to be at the train station at 8 am tomorrow. I’m not that big of a fan that I can’t wait to see it back in the states. Also, I didn’t come to Italy to go to the movies.


One Response to “Solo Italian Adventures”

  1. Vanessa July 13, 2011 at 3:45 pm #

    I think I would love to wander solo around Italy like that, so you can take your time and not worry about what anyone else wants to do. Excited to see your new paintings :).

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