Once upon a time... (June 14th specifically)
Three Plus Florence Roommates happened upon a free rock concert in Florence :)
Italian Rock... Not something I am particularly familiar with. Or ever heard of before. Really. The closest I've come is Mama's LP of Richi i Poveri from the 1980's.
And speaking of the 1980's, although I didn't understand a word that was sung in Italian, it sounded like Genesis, had excerpts from Gloria Estefan and although clearly native, definitely highly influenced by Americano 80's rock and pop.
It made me feel proud of being American and happy that I was here to see how Italian music has absorbed American music and come up with something awesome. We happened upon the concert while we were walking home from lecture along Via della Colonna. We saw a stage being set up with lights, camera crews being ready, a VIP section blocked off, and a few Italians loitering in the steps of the Piazza. By loitering, I mean saving seats.
Stage being set up in the piazza
The outdoor venue was the Piazza della Santissima Annunziata, a historic plaza in Florence that once housed the foundling hospital and is across from one of the holiest and most active churches in Florence. The stage which was set up at one side of the Piazza along the street we were walking, faced the square and beyond it a medieval street, at the end of which was the Duomo.
We decided to hunt up some food and then live dangerously by staying out late. I admit that I was tired, but extremely excited to finally see some live music.
Laura, Marianna and I went to a pizzeria/cafe at which we had a typically Italian experience in several ways. One- miscommunication resulting in being gipped. We were warned early that if you sit down at a cafe rather than taking your food to go, you could be charged a "coppera" (cover price) to sit down. Knowing this I asked the waitress who said "non." Hmm.
So we sat outside. Looked over the menu, which had a wide range of amazing pizzas and ordered. They were to say the least, deliciouso!
3 Glasses of free sangria were given to us. By free, I mean we paid two Euro for them (aka the coperra)
I got a Regina Margherita. Always a good default meal choice. The Regina means with Buffalo Mozzarella
Marianna got a Pruschiotto and Fungi. (Ham and Mushroom)
Laura got a White Quatro Fromagi Pizza. Translation: Four cheese pizza with white sauce (not marinara).
After eating we headed back to the piazza to get some seats. Another typically Italian lesson. Italian time. When I had asked the man running the sound in the VIP section what time the concert started, he said 8:30. Eight-thirty? I asked. Si! He said. No surprise really that 8:30 actually means 9:30.
But, it was fun to wait. If I've neglected to mention, waiting and people watching in Italy is quite fun. For example, earlier in the evening Laura commented on a man boldly wearing fuschia pants. Fuschia. Not purple or lavendar or pink even. Fuschia! ;P
So we sat around and waited. Slowly, but surely the seats around the edges of the piazza and the area in front of the stage filled up. Young couples and groups of kids. Teenagers and young adults. Street people. Older women. Trendy dressed women. High heels, fancy purse, fancy glasses. Jean clad casual, with funky shirts, jewelry and bags. Some concert freaks. Tie-dye. Dread locks. Etc.
What I liked the most about watching the people before and during the concert is the fraternity and community that exists in Florence. People know each other. They come with friends or meet friends. They look surprised and happy to see people they haven't seen in a while.
My very favorites were two old ladies grooving at the top of the stairs. A couple with two young kids. One in a stroller, the other in a sling with his Mama. The husband/father, was super excited to be there. And guiltily looked at his wife for permission to rock out. He looked stupid with happiness. It was great.
Here are some pictures of the concert venue before. I took some pictures of the porta-potties because ours don't come with jungle animals and also pictures of the graffiti trash cans.
The view of the Duomo down the medieval street facing the Piazza and stage
The jungle animal porta-potties. Tee-hee.
Graffiti Trash Cans
Brunelleschi's Foundling Hospital. A place where people could come and drop off the babies they couldn't care for or that needed fostering. One of the first such charities of its kind dating back to the Renaissance. I think this place is telling of the values of the Florentine community.
A Mannerist Mansion in the corner of the piazza
The packed venue
In this picture, you can see the back of the stage, the statue of one of the Medici in the center of the piazza and the Duomo in the back. Too bad my camera battery ran out or I would have taken more.
All in all, it was super fun to switch it up and rock out in Florence.