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The Sunday after a holiday in Florence means the center is packed with Italians and the outskirts are a ghost town. We wanted to see the tree lit in Piazza Duomo and saw that there was another fair in Piazza Annunziata so decided to head in for lunch. Plus, Luna needs more time getting used to the city – so we’re working on leash walkies as well. The piazza was filled with tents and music Florentines and some winter tourist splashed through the puddles on the uneven stones and you could tell some were doing their Christmas shopping by their collection of bags. Ceramics, organic honey, spices, knitted scarves and leather handbags, olivewood cutting boards and kitchen utensils, handcrafted jewelry and unique garden & home decorations.

Growing up in walking distance from nothing, the fact that we can go for a stroll and casually buy artisanal cheeses makes the days when I can hear my neighbor’s trumpet practice tolerable. (Now if we sit out in our garden we have a soundtrack in the background most afternoons. We’re still not sure where it comes from, nor if this is one person that spontaneously decided to become a full-on one-man orchestra (we’ve heard violin, trumpet, flute, and once, opera). Yes, everything is close – but that means the really cool parts are on our dog-walk route. Also on the route to coffee after lunch, we get to pass the Christmas tree in the center.

Though there have been some scraggly trees in the past years, this one looks properly plump which hopefully means good luck for the next year? We certainly need it! Thankfully, our side of the city wasn’t that crowded today – the majority of visitors were hanging out in Santa Croce for the Christmas market – which used to be down the street from our old apartment.

For anyone that visits during the holidays and wants to really enjoy the mulled cider and wine, wait until mid-week and not on the holiday weekend. I’m sure we’ll get down there in the next few days. It’s hard to not get into the Christmas spirit when you’re there! Then the next big festive day is the 22nd – when the Russian Ballet is here to perform the Nutcracker and I think I’m going to pee my pants in excitement for a ridiculously movie-scene Christmas night in the city. I just always keep wishing for snow to top it all off – much to the dismay of Rami – Luna, I’m still hoping, will be my snow buddy seeing that her brother straight up refused to step outside.