Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Years in March?

Florence's New Years day isn't celebrated on January 1st. Its on March 25th. They celebrate the Ascension of the Virgin rather than the fact that the Earth has made it's way around the sun. Go figure. Of course Florence would do that. Scorn the new year of Earth in favor of anything to do with the fucking Madonna. Florence hasn't realized yet that the Renaissance ended in the 1600s. I was quite excited when I got the e-mail from my school telling me that there was going to be a parade and open-air market, though. I hadn't yet celebrated any Italian holiday and I was really curious to learn how to get down Italian-style. Turns out Florentine festivals are Renaissance reincarnate, i.e. Florence is further behind the times than I thought.

I went with a friend to a Piazza where the parade was supposed to pass. I heard drums beating far off and felt rising inside me that familiar anticipation that comes when you know the parade is approaching. Through the crowd I saw flashes of bright colors-reds, whites, yellows, blues. I saw the first wave of marchers and whadda ya know, they're dressed in full Renaissance attire. Fully equipped with tights and feather plumes. The marchers were also all 80+; they got really into the spirit of antiquity with this parade. The outfits were as ridiculous as I hoped they would be. After five or six small groups of men dressed in different Renaissance costumes went by and a group of drummers and trumpeters passed, the parade was over. A solid minute worth of parade. I was so dumbfounded I forgot to be annoyed until later. REALLY? It was the single lamest parade I've ever been to in my life. My elementary school halloween parades were more enjoyable.

I left and went to the market where the parade was supposed to end. I've had some good experiences with Italian mercato's and I was excited to see what kind of things a celebratory one would have on sale. As I walked toward the tents what should tickle my nosebuds but that sweet, sweet odor of things being fried. A traditional Florentine snack, some sort of fried chip type sugary thing, was being fried at every single stand in the piazza. It wasn't as good as it smelled. Kind of bland. Italians have a gift with food, they really do, but I come from New Jersey and no place on Earth can fry something like on a boardwalk. I got my hands on some honey-roasted peanuts, though, which satisfied the need for something delicious immediately. I also had a cannoli. My first one since I've been here, and I wasn't impressed. The mercato was also a big disappointment. They had about a hundred stands with those fried chip things and the rest were random flea market type stands selling such items as cutting boards, used bras, and hand-crafted keychains.

My March New Years? A letdown.
Arrivederci, for now.
Love, Gabby

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