The i-florence staff meets the famous blogger Melinda Gallo:
1) How old are you and where do you come from?
42 years old. United States.
2) When did you come to Italy for the first time? And to Florence?
When I was living in Paris, I flew to Rome for the weekend to go to a soccer game. I didn’t visit Florence until a couple of years later for only a few hours one afternoon.
3) Why did you choose to move to Florence? What was your job in your home country? What is your current profession here?
My idea was to stay in Florence for three months to learn Italian and to find my inspiration to write. On my third day here, I was sitting in Orsanmichele and felt as if I had found my home. I was working as a database programmer and web developer in England before moving here. In Florence, I am a writer and web developer.
4) What do you like the most about your Florentine and Italian experience?
I love how the city has inspired me to follow my heart and be true to myself.
5) Which three places are the most magical for you in the city that you want to share?
Orsanmichele church, San Miniato church, and Bardini Gardens.
6) What would you like to improve in Florence and what do you not like?
The only thing I’d like to improve would be the streets and sidewalks because it can be difficult to stroll the streets without having to constantly watch my step.
7) What is your relationship with the Italian bureaucracy from your point of view?
After having lived in other countries like France and England as well, I have realized that each country has its system in place and that complaining about it doesn’t change it. For me, it would never become a reason to dislike Florence or Italy.
8 ) 5 restaurants, 5 bars, 5 monuments, 5 tourist destinations taht you’d suggest to family and friends who visit Florence:
– Osteria di Giovanni, Buca dell’Orafo, Trattoria Pandemonio, Cibrèo Trattoria, Olio e Convivium
– Golden View Open Bar, Slowly, Noir, Obika, Terrazze Bardini
– San Miniato al Monte, Ponte Vecchio, Le Capelle Medicee, Il Campanile del Giotto, Palazzo Vecchio
– Le terrazze del Duomo, Accademia, Il Bargello, Piazzale Michelangiolo, Museo Bardini
9) How do you move around in Florence? Which means of transportation do you use? What is your relationship with the public transportation?
I mostly navigate the city on foot. I love taking the bus and train to escape the city and visit the surrounding areas in Tuscany.
10) Compared to the first time you came to Florence, has your perception of the city changed after living here?
I find Florence even more fascinating and magical than when I first arrived. I fell in love with its obvious charm, but I now appreciate its heart and soul that require time to understand. By living here, I have had the opportunity to build a relationship with the city and am fortunate that it transmits so much joy to me each day.
11) In what other Italian cities would you like to live in for any period of time? What about other cities in the world?
I’ve never lived in any other city in Italy. I am so attached to Florence that I could never live in another Italian city. In the world, it’s difficult to say, but I’d be open to living anywhere in the world for a short period of time because there are so many beautiful and interesting places. However, if I did go away, I would want to come back to Florence.
12) What do you miss most from your native country? What do you miss from Florence when you are in your native country?
I especially miss my family and friends in the US. When I’m not in Florence, I miss the feeling I have when I’m here. The city transmits so much to me every day that I feel its absence in my life when I’m not here.
13) Your relationship with the Florentines…
Great. I admire the Florentines for their sincerity and joviality. I think that the only way to create a relationship with Florentines is to speak Italian; in that way you can understand their mentality and appreciate their culture.
14) What suggestions would you give to someone who wanted to spend a period of their life in this city?
My suggestion is to drop all expectations about what kind of experience you’ll have here and just go with the flow. In my experience living here, the greatest gifts have come when I least expected them.
15) Any particular experiences you’ve had in this city…
I’ve had so many wonderful experiences living in Florence, but the ones where I’ve connected with locals have been the most significant and enjoyable.
interview by Marco de la Pierre