by Melinda Gallo

Early morning run along the Arno

I grunted when Alessandro told me at midnight last night that he wanted to go for a run at 6:30 this morning. I knew it would be nice to run along the Arno before the city fully wakes up. And, because my palestra (gym) is closed for the next two weeks in the morning, I figured it'd be good for me to change my routine a little bit and run outside.

It wasnít until after we ran past the Ponte alle Grazie that I finally woke up. I buttoned up my sweatshirt to cover my neck because the morning air was chilly. I know itís cooler in the morning because when I leave the windows open, my apartment is refreshingly cool. During the day, the heat has been overpowering and the air tends to be quite heavy and hot. But, itís hard to appreciate the cool air when it hasnít been hot for hours.

From my piazza, we ran to the Ponte Giovanni da Verazzano, crossed over and ran back toward town.

Before we arrived at the Ponte alle Grazie, I told Alessandro that I think I could go to the Ponte Vecchio. We did a short jog last week later in the morning, and I knew that thereíd be a lot of people on the ponte (bridge), so we didnít cross over it. At almost 7AM this morning, I thought itíd be less crowded.

When we turned the corner to take the Ponte Vecchio, chills ran up my spine. It was the first time I had ever been on the Ponte Vecchio when it was completely empty. There was only a private guard in a car parked on the ponte, but there wasnít a single person walking in either direction. Generally, itís quite crowded. This last Saturday, I went to Piazza Santo Spirito and bought a few things at the open mercato (market) and tried not to bump into people with my fresh fruits and vegetables.

I checked the distance we ran by using Gmaps Pedometer that a runner friend sent me the last time I ran out in the city. I was surprised to find out that we ran 5 kilometers in half an hour since itís generally a bit more strenuous to run outside than on the tapis roulant (running machine) in the palestra.

Iím hoping weíll be going for more morning runs, as Florence is amazingly beautiful when itís waking up as long as I wake up first.

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