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Useful resources about life in Florence, Italy, focusing on the international community.

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‘Si fa per dire…’

Martina and I piled into an already crowded café in hopes of a corner table. Once a month we meet there to talk, sip cappuccino, and perhaps jot a line or two in our 'Be Bohemian’ notebooks. We were actually both quite busily writing, when someone at the

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‘Italiani mammoni’

Giorgio Moro was admittedly very relieved to be walking me home. The night had been a terrible bore, he said. Unfortunately, I couldn’t really deny it. I had spent our entire dinner picking his brain for an Italian expression that might please me. ‘Too much to say&

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“Il rientro”: back to work

It’s Tuesday—the day we put the newspaper to bed. And yes, since the entire staff has spent the last few weeks boldly courting summer, we are surprised that the paper ...

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Meno male

Reflection on the frequently used expression.

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‘Mamma mia’

My mother says that if you really hate something, the best thing to do is spend time with it. Once enough hours have passed, it will become your friend. Spend time with your enemies and you will develop empathy for them. Spend time with your detestable list of conditional verbs

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‘Prendere in giro’

Lunch at Lola’s is a true taste of Tuscan theatre. Everyday, my colleagues and I squeeze in the door at half past twelve in efforts to beat our neighbours to the corner table. The menu is written on a paper place-mat and hung on the wall weekly,

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Allora

It’s Monday night and I’m desperate for a word. The rest of the world is out watching the World Cup on the big screen. Italy is playing tonight and everyone ...

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‘Ci penso io’

In Italy, a best friend is known as a ‘heart friend’ and my amico del cuore is called Giorgio Moro. Although this is not top secret information, I do have some qualms about using his full name in this article. Any writer will tell you that it is

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‘Non c’ storia’

The summer I turned seven, my cousin taught me an Italian children’s chant about a king who begged his jester to tell him a tale. ‘Once upon a time there was a king who sat on his sofa and said to his servant, “Tell me a

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‘Boh’

The morning of the election results I purposely avoided turning on the news. There was really no need. The state of Italy’s political future would be written on the barman’s face. I would know the results by the wrinkles on Maurizio’s forehead. In Italy,

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Where polo turns Tuscan

The origin of polo remains uncertain. The sport probably originated in the Middle East, where it was played on a barren field by nomadic warriors as early as 2500 years ...

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‘Cara-bella-ciccia’

I have a good friend who assigns animals to everyone she meets.  I, on the other hand, am partial to fictitious characters. I currently work with four Italian men. In my mind’s eye, they are the Wizard, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.   &

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‘Un occhio della testa’

Italy’s normally salty prices get torn to shreds when sales season comes. From prezzi salati to prezzi stracciati, when prices are shredded, it’s time to go shopping. The country waits on bated breath as the stores mark down and the people line up. It was a

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‘Fare un gioco’

I think I have a rare language disease. My symptoms most often show themselves at fancy dinner parties where everyone is wearing black. Somehow, understated elegance brings out all of my quirky linguistic hang-ups. At the very first lull in conversation, I find myself proposing language games and organising

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‘Dipende’

In the middle of lesson, my student pulls her desk up closer so we can understand each other better. In Italy, it’s best if you can touch whoever you’re talking to. Before traipsing into my classroom three weeks ago, Marilena had never studied English before. Her

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‘Poi vediamo’

Just relax. Take a deep breath. Abandon Plan A. Leave it at the bus stop before you mount bus 14. It’s already too crowded in there. Leave Plan A at the bottom of the stairs before you brave the five flights up to your room with a view.

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‘Dottoressa’

It starts with the usual Thursday afternoon phone call. Supposedly, there’s an urgent manuscript waiting for me at the translation studio. Can I pick it up? Stay up all night to do it? Bring it by in the morning?  My boss Niccolò grovels, and I agree

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‘E’ difficile’

During university I had the great fortune of living right above a Venetian canal. The apartment’s floor was uneven in places and its mosaics rippled as if someone were slowly pulling them from under your feet. There were high gothic windows and the sound of boats knocking together

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‘Una razza morente’

When my up-stairs neighbour finds an article she thinks I can’t live without reading, she tapes it to a packaged merendina snack and throws it at my head as I pass under her window. Not a photocopy, the original. Signora Norma never worries about keeping information for

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‘Compiere gli anni’

If you want to have many birthdays, live in Italy. Together with Japan, Italy boasts the longest life span in the world. Thirty-six paid vacation days a year and the Mediterranean diet are probably partly responsible. Frequent art-filled walks and friendly piazza talks may also have something to

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‘Arriviamo al punto’

English speakers follow a straight line; Italians talk in circles. If you engage in intercultural communication on a daily basis, this is something you probably already know, but possibly have never thought about. So let’s think about it now, shall we?   I’ll start by saying

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Prego

"Prego is one of those words. It opens all doors."

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