By Ela Vasilescu – writer
Mothers are a very important figure in the Italian family. They are often more appreciated and looked up to than in other cultures and their role is unique and precious. In Italy, mothers are celebrated all year round but officially, as in the United States, Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. The holiday can be traced back to ancient Roman culture when a whole weekend of celebrations used to take place in May to honor goddess Juno, who was the Roman goddess of marriage and motherhood. Although Italian mothers have always been a crucial part of, not only the family but equally the community, their formal recognition with a public holiday did not happen until 1957. Being a mother in a city of such historic magnitude as Florence, may seem rather difficult to manage at times. Florence seems as a child unfriendly city for many, mostly because of its famous history and rather large, constant flow of tourists. The image of a toddler running around and chasing pigeons on the rocky beach in front of Palazzo Pitti for example, just doesn’t fit the picture somehow, but there is nothing more beautiful than seeing the future playing on the stones of the past. Florence as any other Italian city offers a lot of opportunities for mothers to have fun together with their children: numerous specially designed entertainment places (ludoteche), playgrounds, gardens, but most of all the city itself is an amazing, giant playground. Italians love to have children around them and one can see families enjoying their lunches or cappuccinos together in restaurants, coffee shops, terraces and libraries, each of these places having at least a corner decorated with toys and books for the little ones. So, what happens on Mother’s day? The answer is simple, it’s a day for families to come together and enjoy each other’s company while thanking the person who made it all possible. After a big, festive lunch, the meal is always rounded off with a sweet cake, often in the shape of a heart, the most popular being the Italian cheesecake. As an addition to the celebration, expect to see plenty of flower stands around the piazze in town, selling all sorts of floral arrangements, especially azaleas which are very popular flowers to give to mothers on this holiday. Happy Mother’s Day!