by Melinda Gallo

Visiting my beloved city with Jill

My friend Jill came through Florence to visit me yesterday. She has been living in Venice, her beloved city, for many years, and also loves Florence after spending some time here too. My beloved city holds a special spot in her heart, so she comes when she can to embrace it. I was so happy that we could spend the afternoon together because spending time with a person who loves and appreciates Florence as much as I do is a true joy.

We met up in Piazza Repubblica to grab a quick drink, and then strolled the streets and visited shops. It was nice to walk around to enjoy the city without having to run to any monumenti (monuments) or chiese (churches). We took in the beauty that we saw all around us: from colorful wooden doors, windows with shutters, and flowers growing on window ledges to the peeling paint on a palazzo (building). Jill took a couple of pictures when she felt the inspiration. I wanted to bring my macchina fotografica (camera) around, but decided at the last minute to just enjoy my time and not think about taking any pictures. A few times I did regret it because I wanted to capture some sights that I found spectacular.

We went to one of my favorite restaurants, Pandemonio. I had planned on taking her to Osteria di Giovanni, but until September it's closed at lunch.

After our delicious lunch, we walked through Piazza del Carmine down to Piazza Santo Spirito. The heat was quite unbearable when we were walking in the sun, but luckily we found a few shady spots.

We walked through Piazza Pitti and over the Ponte Vecchio to head toward the Uffizi. We parted ways for an hour after we each got a granita at Gelateria dei Neri. Jill wanted to write some postcards and I wanted to take a pisolino (nap).

Alessandro came and drove us up to Piazzale Michelangiolo where we took a few pictures even though the sun was so bright it was difficult to keep my eyes open.

We took Jill to the stazione (train station) where we had to say our goodbyes. I was sad because I don't know when I'll be seeing Jill again. Luckily there are many ways to stay connected, but nothing replaces time spent face-to-face.

When I got back home, I turned on the aria condizionata (air conditioner) and thought about our day. Spending time with other people who love Florence makes me really appreciate my good fortune for living here. Not only am I surrounded by such beauty, but I also feel at home here. It's like falling in love with someone who loves you too. I can't think of anything more delightful and joyous!

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