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   Florence and Me
 

Florence and Me

Author: Bertolotti, Elaine Set In . . .
 Europe, Italy, Florence
Genre: Autobiography
Time Frame: 1970s
Published: 2014
Description: Florence and Me: The story of how the city of Florence befriended an American girl from Brooklyn

How an American girl lived in the fantastic city of Florence, Italy!

A true story of how Elaine lived a most extraordinary lifestyle, learning the Italian language, meeting interesting people while teaching English, and exploring the most beautiful city in Italy. Many incidents were laughable and often embarrassing, as she attempted to become an adopted “Fiorentina”. However, these unforgettable experiences rewarded her with a profound sense of accomplishment. Her grandparents, born in Italy, would have been proud of her!!!

She not only was able to teach English to the locals, but she was also fortunate enough to sustain an artistic career in her very own art studio. It always surprised her that, in this famous city of Florence dedicated to art, she could actually compete with fantastic artists and sell her works to both tourists and Florentines.

“Florence” never let her down, She encouraged and befriended her. The people showed a genuine interest in her and her American origins. She often considered herself an American “good will” ambassador as most of the people she encountered had a real thirst for knowledge about the USA. She had the opportunity to tell them as much as she could about her country and at the same time she learned so much about Italy and its culture.

There were moments when she struggled with learning the language and her chatter-boxing days seemed over. Her vocabulary was scarce at the beginning, and she had to keep her ears open to this new language so as to absorb the everyday idioms. She had taken 2 years of Italian at the university and although she always passed her exams with good marks, she found that the grammatically correct Italian just wasn’t enough to help her in the everyday conversation. So she concentrated, absorbed and did a lot of reading in this new language until finally she felt proficient enough to fit into her new Italian surroundings. It took some time but she did it!! Of course, she made a lot of laughable errors that she believes some people still remember, but that was just one part of learning from her mistakes!!!

The atmosphere in her beautiful Florence was such that she felt completely invincible. Her stay there was in the middle ‘70s and the city today has undoubtedly changed, but she likes to think of herself as one of the pioneers who paved the road for the hundreds of Americans who are choosing to live there even now.

“I am a proud Italian American, born and raised in Brooklyn, New York who never would forget her native country and all her beauties. I feel that it was definitely destiny that took my hand and led me to Italy. My heart is in love with my both countries. I’m a lucky girl!!” – Elaine.
  
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