by Melinda Gallo

A morning run as the sun was rising

At 6:30am, we were in the piazza below our apartment about to run along the Arno. When we reached the fiume (river), I could see the dark outline of the Tuscan hills that we were running toward. The sun had still not come up, so a sliver of yellow light behind the hills was making the hills stand out even more. I glanced at the Arno to our left and it was shimmering in dark shades of blue.

I have been lazy this summer and not running much at all. I tried a few times, but felt so lethargic with the humidity and heat. I enjoy the cooler temperatures, which are around 9°C ( 48°F) in the mornings, when I run.

The sun rose steadily, but slowly as we ran toward the ponte (bridge) away from the centro (downtown area). And as we crossed, I looked down at the city and smiled at all the ponti down the Arno.

As we ran toward the Ponte Vecchio, the city lamps along the Arno suddenly went off. We continued running and I kept my eye on the Duomo because it was looking even more beautiful now that the impalcatura (scaffolding) is off the cupola (dome).

We ran across the Ponte Vecchio right after the street cleaners had come by. The wet stones glistened in the early light. As we reached the opening in the middle of the ponte, I looked first toward Ponte Santa Trinità and then toward Ponte alle Grazie. The water was turning a lighter blue and seemed very still.

Instead of going along the Arno, we continued down the street toward Piazza Repubblica and then turned right on via Vacchereccia toward the Piazza della Signoria. As we ran toward the front of the Palazzo Vecchio, I noticed for the first time that the statues of Nettuno (Neptune) and Ercolo (Hercules) have similar poses. Their bodies facing the piazza with their heads turned toward the Uffizi.

We ran alongside the Palazzo Vecchio and then down via dei Neri back to our piazza. By the time we reached our piazza, the bells of the Palazzo Vecchio were chiming. The sun had just inched up some more and the sky had turned a lighter blue.

I love our morning runs not only because it feels good to my body, but also because I get to experience my beloved city as it wakes up. Running down the quiet streets in such peaceful surroundings is a wonderful way to say hello to Florence.

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