by Melinda Gallo

Viewing Florence from afar

One of the greatest joys of going outside of Florence is viewing it from different angles and from different altitudes. Going to the Piazzale Michelangiolo is a true favorite of mine because it's so close and the views are stunning. But, I also do enjoy going to other places like Fiesole and Bellosguardo to take a peek at my beloved city.

On Monday we went to dinner at a restaurant in Bagno a Ripoli up in the colline (hills). I've been there before with Alessandro and loved it. The last time we were seated more toward the street and had a view that was obstructed by people's heads. When I called to make a reservation for his parents and us, I made sure to say, "Possiamo avere un tavolo con una bella vista? (Can we have a table with a nice view?)" I wasn't really sure if they would seat us closer to the edge of the terrazza (terrace) because the view is rather nice from the entire terrazza.

We drove up the windy road and appreciated the glimpses of the city behind us and the cooler air that entered the car. In Florence, we are in what we call a buca (hole), which just means that we're in a valley where air stagnates and doesn't circulate well. In the winter, it's not very noticeable, but in the summer with high temperatures, sun, and humidity, the stale air can be quite overwhelming.

Summers are great for driving out of the city to find these tucked-away terrazze to enjoy wonderful food, another view of Florence, and to get some fresh, and usually cooler, air.

We arrived at the restaurant and were shown to our table, which was right at the edge of the terrazza toward the city. I was so distracted by the view for the entire meal. I watched the sun set behind a building and saw the city begin to glow. The lights in the city flickered like candles as soon as the sun disappeared completely.

When we did our brindisi (toast) to Alessandro's mom for her birthday, I also did one to my beloved city. I wanted to reach out and touch it from the terrazza because it seemed even more beautiful seeing it in the distance from a higher altitude. The impact of its beauty seems even greater to me and when we arrived back to our apartment, I felt as if I appreciated Florence even more.

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