by Melinda Gallo

Wandering the streets on the last day of the year

When the bus dropped me off near the Duomo after going to an appointment outside of the centro (downtown area), I was struck by the crowds of people walking in front of the Duomo this afternoon. For a few weeks, the streets weren't empty, but I hadn't seen them this busy for many months. While I walked down via Calzaiuoli toward Piazza della Signoria, the sun leapt out of the clouds, and I decided to walk around town to take a few pictures before going home.

Living in Florence :: Wandering the streets on the last day of the year

I made my way through the crowds, which all seemed to be walking toward the Duomo, and turned down via Tosinghi toward via Roma to go to Piazza Repubblica. I arrived in the piazza, which was full of people walking in every direction, so I continued down the street toward Ponte Vecchio.

I stopped for a few minutes to watch a Japanese artist paint "The First Kiss" by William Adolphe Bouguereau on the street. I'm always amazed by the passion and dedication of artists who reproduce a work of art on the street when it will be cleaned up by the next day.

I continued walking toward Ponte Vecchio and stood on the ponte across from the Cellini statue under the Vasari Corridor. It's my favorite place on the bridge because I can stand above the Arno and greet all four sides of Florence: down the river toward my apartment, up the river toward the Parco delle Cascine, the centro and the oltrarno area.

The wind was a bit chilly as it whipped by, so I walked back toward the Piazza della Signoria. I always love looking up at the Palazzo Vecchio from via Vacchreccia because it always looks so stunning peeking out of the narrow street and into the open sky.

I walked toward the Fontana del Nettuno where I was struck by two little birds on one of the bronze statues in front of Neptune. It's common for pigeons to perch on the statues, but the littler birds are more difficult to spot.

When the sun began to fade behind the clouds, I packed my camera back into my purse and walked home. I enjoyed wandering around the streets in centro before the new year arrives. And I was fortunate to see the city with its last few rays of sunshine for the year because within a couple of hours it began to rain until well into the night.

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