I left Perugia yesterday after saying a sad goodbye to Gina at Albergo Aurora, and arrived in Florence, where I’m briefly staying at Hotel Arianna. It’s a nice place run by a warm, friendly family with a huge black dog, but it has labyrinthine passages. I’m staying in the farthest possible room from the entrance, on the top floor in the back. To get breakfast in the morning, I have to walk the entire length of the winding labyrinth to a floor ground level. I’m not complaining. I just think it’s kind of funny.

I rested for most of the day, but in the evening I made a beeline for my favorite location in Florence: Piazza di Santo Spirito and its surrounding area. It’s in the Oltrarno, my favorite part of Florence. When I studied here years ago, my friends and I always used to hang out here, and today it’s relatively tourist free and has good restaurants and bars. It’s good place to drink coffee and read…and write blogs. Also, you’ll almost inevitably start a conversation with someone new.

As I did last night. I ate at Osteria Santo Spirito, a place with huge, almost unfinishable portions of very good and creative food. A salad could be an entire meal here. As so often happens when you’re by yourself in Italy, I was placed at a table for four, where two seats were already occupied. The two people next to me were a couple from the Veneto (where Venice is located), and they immediately struck up a conversation with me, talking about their motorino, which looked exactly like the one Gregory Peck had in Roman Holiday. They were absolutely charming, and when I told them about my blog, they suggested I look for a woman working in an eyeglass shop in Borgo San Iacopo who was also keeping a blog about her travels. As I’ll be here in Florence for over a month, I will certainly pursue that lead.

Near Piazza di Santo Spirito is my favorite gelateria in Florence. It’s located in a small square with the amusing name Piazza della PasseraPassera means “sparrow,” but the piazza is named after the fact that whores used to ply their trade there. It turns out that passera is also slang for “pussy” (a fact betrayed by the feminine “a” ending to the masculine word “passero” that’s usually used for sparrows)

So anyway, in Pussy Square, there’s a gelateria called (sigh) Gelateria della PasseraI’m sure you can figure out the name’s double meaning. I love this place because they have a lot of unusual flavors (no, not that one, but who knows? It may show up one day). I remember once having a mojito gelato here. Yesterday, however, I just went for a plain old ordinary triple scoop of lemon, wild berry, and passion fruit.

The sacrifices I make, huh?


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