by Melinda Gallo

A jog around town

For the first time ever in my life, I decided to run through Florence this morning. I have never done that before in any city that I have lived in. I usually like to run in parks where I'm in an enclosed space and it's acceptable to run, or in the gym where I can regulate my speed and distance.

Because today is the Festa della Liberazione, the streets appeared rather quiet at 9AM. I contemplated for at least a quarter of an hour before I put on my jogging shorts, tied my house keys to my shoes, put on my iPod, and ran down the stairs and out into the piazza below.

At first, I thought I'd take it slow and just go to Piazza d'Azeglio, which is only a few blocks away, and back. Once I got there, I decided to go to the Arno river after running past Piazza Beccaria. At the river, I crossed over the bridge Ponte San Niccolò. I walked across it to really take in the view of the city. Once I reached the other side of the Arno, I began to run along the river where I saw a lot of other people running in groups.

I was thinking that I should run back to the Ponte San Niccolò to go back home the way I came, still trying to avoid running in centro (downtown), but I decided to cross the Ponte alle Grazie and run past Santa Croce. There were only a few tourists out, but the streets were rather quiet.

Many Florentines are away for the ponte (an extended weekend). Today and next Tuesday are both feste (holidays), so some people take the days in between off to enjoy a long weekend. Because we're having such great weather, I'm sure the beaches are packed.

I ran up via S. Egidio and via della Pergola to go back to Piazza SS. Annunziata and felt fantastic. If I ever run outside again, I'm going to bring some money so I can buy some water along the way. I probably could've run a little bit longer, but I was so thirsty that I had to avoid looking at the fountains in the piazze.

I don't think I'll make a habit of running around my city, but it was a great experience for me. I would like to wake up some day really early and run past the Duomo, down via Calzaiuoli, and past Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi when no one is around. I'm sure that would be quite magical.

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