Friday, April 4, 2008

Cascine Market Florence, Italy

Cari Amici,
I felt my cold break in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, although even today I am still feeling some lingering effects. I was happy, though, because I had made plans to meet my friend Anna (who shares a birthday with me) to go to the Tuesday market in the Parco delle Cascine. This park stretches along the famous Arno River, downstream from the Ponte Vecchio.

Although I have been told that Florentines love their gardens, a tourist is unlikely to see much of these in centro unless you can get invited inside the historic buildings to see the courtyards and rooftops. I have a tendency to experience withdrawal symptoms if I do not have contact with trees often, so I was looking forward to seeing more of this park.

The park is lovely (by day – by night, one can see prostitutes and it was not too long ago that the police cracked down on a substantial child prostitute business here) and the market was much larger than I expected. I love the food booths, the plants, and the inexpensive clothes. But they also sell sheets, linens, and other household items. Anna bought a pot for cooking.

We got a kick out of our lack of understanding the Italian language: One shoe booth promoted “Stock solo €1.50”. We were unclear on whether solo meant “only” or “each” since the shoes did not appear to be sold by the pairs. The weather was very spring-like and quite perfect, save for the flying seedlets snowing down on us. I know that I should have been able to name the guilty plant or tree, but labels seem to be escaping me. But enjoy the photo of the temporary groundcover!

And finally, I would like to include this image that I took on our return trip. We crossed the Arno and could see the beginning of the market on the left. And in front of the hills that surround Florence, the tower of the Palazzo Vecchio can be seen behind the bridges we must pass before arriving back where we started – Florence’s Ponte Vecchio.

Thank you for reading!

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