Last night was La Notte Bianca, the white night. It is an all night festival in the Oltrarno district (across the Arno). It begins on the summer solstice, June 21 and ends early morning June 22.
Francesca, Nicola (Francesca’s younger brother), Rina and I drove to the Oltrarno around 12 a.m. We had first stopped off at some friends for food and drink. That is where we picked up Rina. She and her flat mates were having a party, but not the kind that American students have. In the kitchen was a table filled with food and wine. We trekked through the bathroom to the terrace were about 10 people, from different parts of the world, were eating and talking.
Last year for some reason, which I reflect on now, I decided to let my Albanian boyfriend go without me to La Notte Bianca. Now that I look back, there were many of nights that I did not feel like going out with him.
In any case, last night was something I have never before seen in The States. People were everywhere, drinking and eating on the street. The bands that played on every corner set the vibe for the street party. What I observed from the groups of people walking past me, everyone was elated. It was just a good time. People were trying to eat juicy watermelons while keeping their attire spotless. My friends and I looked for cheap, but good wine. And in the end everybody danced.
Drinking in public is one thing the States should instate. It makes a festival. People are free. Also, the shops in the area were open -- shopping with food, music, alcohol and beautiful people everywhere—what more could a girl ask for. Another thing about Italy is that everyone smokes. I mean everybody. I even found myself with a cigarette in hand.
I noticed that a lot of people in Florence roll their own cigarettes. I do not know if this is because of price, quality or just a particular preference. My flat mate can roll hers while walking, with delicate care and attention a skinny cigarette is made from la cartina, tobacco, and filter. It is impressive.
We spent some time in Piazza Santo Spirito. I think this was one of the most crowed areas of the celebration. A song played throughout the square that paid homage to Italy. All the Italians in the crowd began to sing along and jump around. Their pride gave me goose bumps.
Last night was probably the first night where I started to feel a bit comfortable here. It is difficult to come back to a city where I have spent many summer nights with a different group. To come back and disassociate myself with last year’s experiences is more difficult than I thought. It does help to live in a completely different area of Firenze, Oltrarno.
I heard the birds chirping when we returned home at 5 a.m. As I looked out my window at the periwinkle sky about to greet the sun, I wondered what I felt like last year -- I cannot remember.