Tuesday, June 9, 2015

26 May -- Evening in Firenze

I waited out the rain for 20 minutes this afternoon, standing in the entryway of a hotel. Just as I left the Botanical Garden, the sky turned black and it began to pour. By experience, I know, it's best to find a shop and enter. The location of the garden and the timing were not good for me today. The shops in the city center keep long continuous hours, which is not the norm for Italian shops which cater mostly to locals. The lunch hour is usually a two hour break, enabling everyone time to go home and eat. 

When there was a break in the rain I walked on for a few minutes. The next door I took shelter in was for Società di Dante. The frescos were so fabulous, I entered to take a closer look. And to take   pictures, with permission. No one was around. There was a wonderful Della Robbia enamel with vibrant colors on the wall. 

My next rain shelter was a kitchen shop which used to be located on the corner near my school, Scuola Leonardo da Vinci. Several years ago, they moved here. Via dei Servi, I think. I really did hope this shop had something I need. I was disappointed. Sorry signora, we do not have extra turning handles for the pasta maker. This will go onto my research list. Maybe Amazon.

I'm making my way slowly through the rain, toward my hotel. I had given up finding that shoe shop from this morning. But suddenly, there was my Feltinelli bookstore landmark. I entered the shoe shop and appogized for my wet feet. I took off my soaking socks and told the commessa, I had seen shoes this morning in the window and was back to try them. She kindly gave me paper towels to dry my feet. The sandals were perfect. I bought two pair. Made in Italy, cost about 35€. 

I cannot resist a bookstore. Leaving my umbrella at the front door of Feltrinelli, I went right toward study books for foreigners. Not all bookstores have such a good collection. I found several workbooks. Meanwhile, I was mentally weighing them. They can go in my purse. Really, this is my last purchase. I know I am precariously close to my weight limit. 

I was close to turning onto Via dei Tornabuoni. The rain had stopped for the day. Warm and sunny! I'm sure there was a  rainbow nearby. 

I looked in the shop and stopped in my tracks. I've only read about this! I stood outside, fascinated. I signaled to the man: 'come va?'  How is it. He smiled! 

This is Florence Kiss Fish where for €15 for 15 minutes or €24 for 30, one can have their feet nibbled clean of dead skin by the toothless garra rufa fish. Apparently for the last century, Turkish women have used these fish to perform pedicures.  

I read the brochure and decided it was safe. Italians are super health conscious and the government would be leary too. 
The other two customers were locals. I decided to be courageous. 

I would do this again! First, they wash your feet in an olive oil based soap. I inquired if it was safe for the fish. Next, you dry your own feet and step into paper slippers. The assistant helps you onto the seat. Then, rest the bare feet on the edge of the fish tank. Catch your breathe and feet into the water. And relax. After the initial giggling. People on the street stopped to watch. The little fish kiss away the dead skin. It felt like a massage. A bit creepy the first minute. After that, it was heavenly!

I paid for only 15 minutes. Next time I will go for the full 30 minutes. That man I had initially been watching, made an appointment for the following week.  My feet and ankles were totally smooth! 

Back out on the street, it was bright. The days are so long here. On Via dei Tornabuoni, where Via dei Rondinelli merges in, is a large heavy looking church. The doors were open! 

My first time visiting Santi Michele e Gaetano.  It's odd how there are so many churches so close to each other. It seems to be that each order had their own funding and followers. Very lovely inside and gray. Each church has it's own personality, inside and out. 

This church was rebuilt over a previous church between 1604 - 1648. The church was dedicated to one of the Theatine order's founders. Interesting they could not name it after him until 1671, when he was canonized. 

For the second time this trip, a photo reminder! I looked down at my phone and this was on my screen. Alessandro close by! I always light a candle and linger in these peaceful places. 

With a few hours still left in the day, I stopped at the hotel and then had a disappointing Pappa al pomodoro for dinner at my standby trattoria. Tomorrow night, pizza! 

Gucci Museo is supposed to have a great little cafe. I checked the menu for hot chocolate, but decided to buy an entry ticket and revisit. It's open late. I spent a pleasant several hours wandering and watching film clips. The sun doesn't set until after 8.30!

I just caught the sunset on my way to buy breakfast yoghurt. It's so beautiful here. It breaks my heart to leave.  On this bridge, about this time of night, Alessandro and I were lucky to be standing next opera singer S Kim when she burst into song, just for her husband. 

When I turn to leave, eye still on my lens, a surprise! I caught the moment. 

No comments:

Post a Comment