About an hour later I met up with my friend Melinda at the Liberia Edison, a bookstore in Piazza della Repubblica. I read in the newspaper earlier this week, quite by accident, that there was an event happening there yesterday that I didn't want to miss...*pause*
Ok, so if I could have listed when we moved to Italy who were the top Italians that I'd like to meet, my list would begin as follows:
1) Andrea Bocelli. Love him and would love to have him sing me a song. I even found out that he was supposedly just 5 doors down from us back in November when a record-breaking auction was held for a truffle which sold for $330,000 at the Medici Palace.
2) Raoul Bova.
...I'll stop right there...because I get to check this one off my list! Yep. I met Mr. Bova yesterday afternoon. I use the word met very loosely, because I really didn't get to say hello or do the double-cheek kiss thing, but I did get to see him which was very nice indeed. Most Americans, at least, know him as Marcello from Under the Tuscan Sun although he's one of the more famous actors in Italy.
The event that I didn't want to miss was a meet-and-greet with Raoul and his co-star of the new film "Scuca Ma Ti Chiamo Amore". The film is related to a book of the same title, and the author was there as well. The bookstore had a window display for the event throughout the week, but other than a small ad on their website, the entire event didn't seem like such a big deal around the city. As soon as Melinda and I were walking in the entrance, a group of about 7 teenage girls ran in before us, and I was hoping that they were only there to buy the newest romance novel or something...but I was very wrong.
We quickly made our way to the 1st level where the event was being held, and continued one level higher to find a spot by the glass balcony with a good view of the signing table. Within about 10 minutes the place was completely packed with tons of ladies (mostly young), and only about 5 guys. Finally, after the building anticipation, we both tried to steady our cameras as Raoul and crew made their way in from a side door and sat down at the book signing table. The girls in the crowd were clapping, yelling, and then began to sing a song (all I could catch was something "bellissimo"). I was definitely amused at the craziness, but we both were getting a little annoyed at the girls behind us who were pushing against our backs and even propping their cameras on our shoulders. Unfortunately, my photos didn't come out well at all, since the flash wasn't helping, and every time I tried to hold it steady as I clicked the release button, I would get moved by the pushing girls. As you can see, as the time went by, and the crowds got worse, my (un)steadiness followed suit. (At least if you squint you can see his face :) )
He said a brief hello and spoke about the film (although it was so hard to hear over the chatter), then the author spoke for a minute or two before the flood gates were opened and a pushing line of women moved forward to get his autograph and cheek kisses. In my head, the event would've gone much differently (and involved a smaller crowd, more talking about the film, and a brief line to the signing table for a close encounter of my own), but boh, oh well! It was a fun experience anyway and it will be nice to see the movie now after seeing the main actors in person.
After we made our way back outside, we headed across the piazza for a nice lunch at a small enoteca / focacceria. It was a great afternoon to be in Florence, and to top it off, the weather was absolutely gorgeous.