by Melinda Gallo

Reacquainting myself with Florence

After being away from Florence a few days, I wanted to walk around to a few of my favorite places to say hello to my beloved city. Because I was so exhausted from our trip and had work to catch up on, I planned a passeggiata (stroll) around the centro storico (historical center) in my head and couldn't wait for today when I could finally go out. I have been peering out the window at the brownish Arno river for a few days while I gathered strength for today's passeggiata.

I walked out of our apartment and down via dei Neri toward the Piazza della Signoria. I made my way through the large crowds near the Uffizi. I glanced up at the replica of David while trying not to get in anyone's way. Some people were snapping photos while others were standing in groups listening to their tour guide talk about the piazza. I stopped in front of the loggia to marvel at all the statues for a few minutes. With the sea of people, I got a little distracted and decided that I should come back when it's quieter. As I walked through the piazza, I turned around to take in the Palazzo Vecchio. It always appears more beautiful each time I see it.

I made a beeline to Orsanmichele, which is one of my favorite chiese (churches) in centro (downtown). I stepped into the dark chiesa and sat down. I love the interior of the chiesa with its frescoed ceilings and alluring tabernacolo (tabernacle).

Afterwards, I drifted into the Piazza Repubblica where the giostra (merry-go-round) was still making children cheer for joy. As I walked down via Roma, I looked into the vetrine (shop windows) to see all the autumn clothing, which I couldn't imagine wearing in the heat we've been having.

I had to stop once I arrived in front of the Duomo, which literally took my breath away. No matter how beautiful all the places are in Italy that we visited, the Duomo holds a special place in my heart. I stood there a few minutes to study it and am happy that the scaffolding is hidden toward the back so that the view from the front of it is unhindered.

I then walked down via del Corso, which later turns into Borgo degli Albizi, and stopped off to talk to one of my Florentine girlfriends who works in a negozio (shop). I hadn't seen her in a few weeks, so it was nice to catch up.

On my way back home, I walked the through a few back streets toward Vivoli and then walked down a windy street to end up in front of Santa Croce. Not only was it as stunning as always, but when I am in front of it, I always feel at home. This might be true because because I lived behind it for two years and always walked through the piazza to get anywhere in centro. So, I must have seen it almost a hundred times a month.

When I arrived back home, I was happy to have reacquainted myself with my beloved city. I felt a little disappointed for not having taken any photos, but after our vacation, I needed a break from photography and wanted to just experience Florence my way. I only saw a few of my favorites today, but I hope to hike up to San Miniato for a visit as I haven't been inside that chiesa in a very long time.

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