by Melinda Gallo

A later run along the Arno

Instead of leaving the house at 6:30 am with Alessandro to go running, I went out alone at 7:45 am. I didn't think there would be a big difference only an hour later, but there was. The first thing I noticed was the amount of people outside. The minute I left our piazza, I had to run past a fermata dell'autobus (bus stop) where school children were getting off the bus. I had to stop running and say, "Permesso (Excuse me)" at least four or five times to get by.

The streetlights were already off and San Miniato wasn't illuminated like it normally is only an hour earlier. I was a little disappointed because I love seeing San Miniato at the top of the low hill behind Piazzale Michelangiolo. It's one of my favorite sights.

Once I cleared the ponte (bridge), I looked up at the patchy light blue sky. I saw the rays of golden sunlight beaming onto the hills in the distance, which made me smile. More and more cars whizzed by me as I ran along the lungarno (street along the Arno River). I had to turn my iPod on higher so I could hear the music.

A few runners ran past me in the opposite direction. While the ones I assumed were stranieri (foreigners) looked past me, many of the locals waved or said "Ciao" to me.

When I reached Ponte San Niccolò, I looked up and down the fiume (river). The sun was peeking out a bit more from behind the clouds. When I looked toward the centro (downtown area), I saw the tops of the Duomo, the Campanile, the Santa Croce chiesa (church), the torre campanaria (bell tower) at the Badia Fiorentina, the torre (tower) at the Bargello, and the Palazzo Vecchio.

I love to see the rooftops of the city, the riflesso (reflection) of the clouds and buildings on the Arno, and a few details on buildings that I didn't notice before, like the crosses in the stone walls of the Santa Croce chiesa. I like how the rest of the chiesa, which is built with beige and brown rough-looking bricks, contrasts with the white, ornate, and pristine facciata (façade).

As I was just about to run across Ponte alle Grazie, a large van stopped on the striscie (zebra crossing) only a few feet from me to let me pass. I have learned not to get upset at cars who stop so close to me because as Alessandro would tell me, "Almeno si è fermato. At least he stopped."

When I got back to our piazza, I stretched out a little bit on the marciapiede (sidewalk) as I usually do, but had to cut it short as there were too many people walking by.

Going on my run an hour later seems to change everything. I prefer to go earlier, but it was beautiful to see the city at this later time. I noticed things that didn't previously catch my eye. I was happy to even see the leaves on some of the trees had changed color.

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