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Anna: Vireggio, Famiglia in Prato, Venice

March 2, 2011

Last week, my Italian class brought us to a market which isn’t too far from my apartment. It is called Sant’ Ambrogio market. There was fresh meat, fish, cheese, fresh pastas, bread, fruit and vegetables. I decided I am doing all my grocery shopping there from now on! Everything is so delicious looking and not very expensive. I am excited to take my mom and dad there. My mom will die and go to heaven; it is truly a cook’s paradise.

I thought the weekend would be fairly low key for me but it ended up being very busy and exciting! On Friday, some friends were in town visiting Florence from Rome, so we decided to meet up and I would show them a few spots. We ended up doing a full power tour seeing almost everything there is in Florence. We walked to the top of the Duomo (well the thing next to the Duomo), saw Piazza Michelangelo, San Lorenzo market, got lunch, and did the whole Uffizi.

On Friday, Frank Lupia, my dad’s cousin, picked me up to visit another cousin (Cesare) in Prato, a city near Florence. Frank does not speak English, and I don’t speak Italian. It was very interesting, but it wasn’t too bad! We had to call Alessandra a couple times about questions he had for me, but overall it was not too bad and we got through it together! We couldn’t visit Cesare until later in the day so Frank too me to Vireggio, a small beach city famous for it’s Carnivale and seafood. I was really excited he brought me there because I was planning a day trip there anyways! You could see beach from one angle and sea from another. Frank and I had a HUGE lunch together of seafood carbonara. I tried clams, mussels, these little fish that looked like baby octopus, and I liked it all! None of it tasted fishy. We also had fried fish which was really delicious. I told him “no me va” that I was full but he proceeded to order two desserts, a caramel panna cotta and pistachio cake and gelato.

After Vireggio, we visited Cesare in Prato. Cesare is very sick. He has brain cancer and they are not sure how much longer he will make it. It was hard to meet someone for the first and last time all together. He seemed very optimistic and excited to see me. His daughter Tina can speak a bit of English but does not remember much since she only learned in school. We had a very nice time talking together. It was funny because the one thing everyone understood was how my dad can only speak Belcastrese (small Calabrian town dialect) and not proper Italian. All of the relatives get a kick out of that. They sent me off with cheese from Belcastro and Tadods (spelling?) a biscuit that my Nana Ida used to make. I am really lucky to have so much family in Italy that are willing to pick me up and bring me places. I might be planning a trip to Genova to see Frank’s family again in March.

On Sunday, I woke up early and met a tour group called Florence for Fun for a day trip to Venice. It was a very, very long day. Unfortunately it was  cold, windy, and rainy. I hate letting weather affect my feelings about a city but it is difficult to do. I tried to be as optimistic as I could and enjoy my time there. Venice was very pretty and I enjoyed seeing all of the people dressed up in their Carnivale outfits. One woman was kneeling behind a stroller so you couldn’t see her body and all you saw was her head on the body of a baby in a stroller! As people passed it was hilarious because as people would pass she would cry or smile or blow kisses. I never got to ride a Gondola because it cost so much…80 for only 3 people, but I took lots of pictures of people in them! Overall, I would love to see Venice again in the summer time without the crowds or cold weather. The city was pretty in the rain; I can’t imagine how it is in the sun.

This is my last entry until March 13th! I am going on Spring Break on Friday to Istanbul, Athens and Santorini Greece. I also have plenty of midterms and things I have to be planning for. Trying not to stress is difficult but once Friday hits I know I will feel much better.

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