I left the wonderful Ristorate Oliviero–the restaurant that had been born the same year as I  had been–with a belly full of amazing food and wine.  I headed back in the direction of my apartment, but I had promised the owners at my little wine bar that I would stop in again and let them know how dinner was.

And that is when I met Angelo.  In the two years since that fateful evening, Angelo and his beautiful wife, Manuela, have become much beloved friends.  I have a photo of the three of us last year on my 51st birthday that I will post later.

Angelo was with his friend Roberto that evening and we instantly all hit it off. They were so full of life and so wonderfully Italian.

I indulged in one more glass of that amazing Brunello di Montalcino and I was ready to go home to my apartment!  Angelo and Roberto had other plans though and they wanted me to go our to another bar with them.  I said “no” and walked home to fall into bed, blessedly overlooked by the Madonna which hung in the bedroom.

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She is so beautiful.  In fact, although I am not an overly religious person, I have collected a few Madonnas for my own bedroom since being blessed and protected in my florentine bedroom by this lovely one.  The Madonna to me represents peace, perseverance, grace and undying love.

Angelo and I had exchanged e-mail addresses to keep in contact. We arranged to get together again a few nights later and I was able to meet Manuela as well on that first trip to Florence.

Angelo later e-mailed and expressed that he was concerned as to why I did not want to go on to another bar with Roberto and he that night of my birthday.  Had I been frightened to join them?  I assured him that, no, I was not afraid at all.  I was simply too tired and fairly drunk on that wonderful night of my 50th birthday alone in Florence, Italy!

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