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The Firenze of the Florentines by Jennifer Walker

"The Firenze of the Florentines", by Jennifer Walker, Collana Centopelli n. 9, Neri Editore, Firenze 1994, 96 pages, Price U.S. $ 10

Being a visitor in Firenze can be a bit trying sometimes. You have to live and learn because there are so many American habits and Italian habits that clash. Who knew that you were to only exit a bus by using the central door? Now there is a book, written by a former Saci student, that tells it all. "The Firenze of the Florentines", written by Jennifer Walker, is a ninety-six page book targeted to help foreigners acclimate themselves to Firenze, as well as a tangible memory for those who have already been to Firenze. It is divided into four chapters contaning also pictures and small dictionaries. The chapter entitled "Surviving in Firenze" contains practical information such as how to use a public phone, the services offered by the post offices, and what the differences are between the Polizia and the Carabinieri. Tips on when to say "buongiorno" and not to say "ciao", and why some numbers are red and some are black are also explained. The chapter "Cultural Firenze" emphasizes more on what it is like to be a Florentine. It begins with the origins of the city and its traditions and ends with the slang and superstitions found today. Here, also, you will find out what Florentines think about Pisani, Romani, and Americani. You will also find out what the sterotypes are among Florentines, and how they see themselves. Of course with the subject being Italian one must include food. The third chapter "Eating in Firenze" not only gives the history of the pizza but will also explain why you are a sure give away as a foreigner when you drink a cappuccino after lunch or dinner. The mysteries of what bread is eaten with are solved, and highlighted are typical Florentine dishes like ribollita and schiacciata. The final chapter is "Traveling around Firenze". The pleasures of riding on a bus in Firenze are included here, as well as the ins and outs of using the State Railroad system. Moped rentals and tipping taxi drivers are also among the information found here. One day trips outside of Firenze are explained with how to arrive and what not to miss once there. The information is useful to those just beginning a visit in Firenze, but most of all it is a way to take Firenze home in a book. Firenze is as full with personality and confusion as it is with art. The books on art are easy to find. "The Firenze of the Florentines" is one of a kind.

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 Every cricket has its day - The Festa del grillo (cricket festival) is probably the most loved traditional festival by Florentines. It is suppose to take place fourty days after Easter but for practical reasons it is held on the Sunday following those fourty days.


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