Florence and Tuscany, how to mend a broken heart

Few years ago, because of an identity crises (read: cheating boyfriend caught red-handed) I decided to leave the city for a while.

What to do and where to go? It was November and as much as I love Sardinia, I could not bare the thought of going back to my parents’ house. First of all, it’s really cold there in winter and it would have been depressing and then I should have followed my dad’s rules, since he thought of us as little kids still.

“Is picciocchedas funti torradasa?” (from Sardinian: are the girls back yet?).

This was my dad’s typical sentence every time we spend few days with them and maybe went out with some friends. He would not fall asleep until he knew we were back, even if the “little girls” were not so little anymore and my sister and I had already gone through the teenage years long time ago.

I chose therefore to go to Florence, where my sister Paola was living at that time. I bought the ticket and caught the first flight I was able to find: New York-Brussels and Brussels-Florence. The Peretola airport is very small, so small that the pilot had to hit the breaks really hard in order to not hit the mountain on one side of the runway or to end up on the highway on the other.

“That’s a start!” I thought already very depressed.

I was going to stay in Tuscany for three months, the time needed to heal the wounds in my heart. Paola had already organized few outings with her friends so keep my mind busy and away from hurtful memories.

“How long are you going to stay in Florence?’ they asked once during dinner.

“Few months I think”

“Will it be easy to find another job once you get back to New York?”

“Yeah, I will set up some interviews and I will find something for sure”.

My sister was sitting in front of me and burst into laughter.

“And who’s going to interview you? L’Unione Sarda?”

Just a quick note for my English speaking friends: the word “interview’ in Italian is a press or media related term only and L’Unione Sarda is the major newspaper of Sardinia. Uff! After so many years speaking English, I think it’s quite normal to make mistakes and translate straight from one to the other. The problem is the often the same word has different meaning in the other language as explained above.

“Colloquio! You are supposed to say “colloquio” in Italian”.

And what about the day at the airport?

“There’s a mistake on my outbound flight. We need to go to “ticketeria” and change it immediately”.

“Ticketeria” sounds like a proper word to me. It seems it is not, but since “ticket” has become part of the Italian dictionary, what do you call the place where you buy them?? And mistakenly translating again, “IT MAKES SENSE” should be “ha un senso” and not “FA SENSO” which in Italian means “IT’S GROSS”.

I went all around Florence. My sister was working during the day and I often went downtown for some window-shopping, trying to kill time. A hot chocolate in Piazza della Repubblica, a walk on Ponte Vecchio to check out the jewelry stores or an afternoon in Piazzale Michelangelo to admire the view of Florence from above. The decorations and the Christmas jingles were everywhere even if it was only the beginning of November. By the time Christmas came we are all fed up with them and were finally able to have some peace. Paola was working for Budweiser then and for this reason we often drove from town to town. Florence and its museums and monuments, Siena and the sensation to be living in medieval time while walking within the walls of the old city, and Cortona, a small town in the Arezzo province, built right on top of a hill like in a fairy-tale (and it’s also Jovanotti’s birth place!): these are the places I’ve loved the most and that made me feel at home during the time I was there.

I went back to New York in the beginning of February: my heart had recovered from the pain for the lost love, but now it was missing a piece, that I had left behind me, back in Tuscany.


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