by Melinda Gallo

Maratona di Firenze at a distance

At around 7 this morning while the sun was rising, I looked out our apartment windows where numerous podisti (runners) were heading toward Piazzale Michelangiolo for the beginning of the Maratona di Firenze. The sun was revealing a dark, patchy sky with very few rays of sunshine beaming through. Some of the podisti were jogging while others were walking toward the Ponte alle Grazie. Many of the podisti were already sporting plastic impermeabili (rain jackets) because rain was imminent.

Living in Florence :: Maratona di Firenze at a distance

For the past few days on the telegiornale (television news program), they have talked almost incessantly about the maltempo (bad weather) all over Italy. I even watched a partita (soccer match) on TV last night that was taking place in Torino where it snowed during the entire second half.

Because of the rain these past few days, the light-brown colored Arno is so full that I can hear the water flowing down the embankment under Ponte alle Grazie late at night when there are few cars outside.

While I was sitting at my desk working at around 8 am, a man began speaking on a loudspeaker. He was making announcements to the podisti.

A half hour before the beginning of the maratona, the sky became dark again and the rain began to pour out of the sky. I felt bad for the podisti outside while I was sitting at my desk doing my own personal work maratona.

I turned on the television to watch the maratona. I especially enjoyed watching the podisti run behind the Piazzale Michelangiolo because a cameraman on a elicottero (helicopter) was filming everything. I could catch a glimpse of many gardens and buildings that are impossible to see from the street.

I knew when they were about to run by on the Lungarno Torrigiani, which is across the Arno from our apartment, when I heard the elicottero approaching. I watched on the TV as well as out the window to see the podisti go by. I opened my window to snap a few photos from our apartment, but couldn't wait to close it again because of the chilly air.

There weren't any cars circulating in centro (downtown) either as today was also domenica ecologica (Ecological Sunday). It's the one day of the year when you have to either take public transportation, take a taxi, or drive a hybrid car to get around town. Of course, most people just either walk or ride their bici (bikes), which would've been wonderful had it not been raining.

For the next hour or so, I kept one eye on the TV to see where the leading podisti were in Florence. When I saw the two frontrunners approaching the Biblioteca Nazionale (National Library) I sat in front of the TV to see them arrive in Piazza Santa Croce.

I wanted to go to the piazza to see them especially since my suocero (father-in-law) was going too, but I had to stay home to work. I'm sure it was exciting to end the maratona in one of the most beautiful piazze in Florence: Piazza Santa Croce. Each year I tell myself I'm going to go out and see the podisti run by the Duomo, so now I'll have to wait until next year. I do hope the weather is better for them. I'm sure the chilly air wasn't a problem, but the rain did prevent a few of the podisti from competing this year.

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