A quick visit to Santo Spirito

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Some days I wish I could visit my beloved city more often. I'd walk to different piazze and just sit down to watch the events that go on. I love admiring the surrounding buildings and monuments to see if I observe any new features or other peculiarities that I hadn't noticed before. I try to walk down different streets once in a while so that I can discover something new. It's so easy to continually walk the same paths over and over in such a small city, but sometimes it's nice to change.

I'm very fortunate to have a flexible work schedule that allows me some free time during the day so I can get out once in a while to spend some time enjoying my city, but sometimes it's not enough. I'd like to take a day off a week to walk around and explore even more. On the weekends when most people have more free time, I'm rarely in the mood to walk around because I know how busy the city streets are. I prefer to go out when there are fewer people around.

The other day I walked to Piazza Santo Spirito to meet a friend for a coffee. I got there early because I wanted to stroll around the piazza a little. I was happy to see the small outside mercato (market) with a few banchi (stands) scattered around the piazza. I planned on buying some fruits and vegetables before leaving because my ortolano (green grocer) is on vacation, and I didn't want to walk to all the way over to the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio..

Instead of walking to the side of the piazza near via Mazzetta to check out the merecato, I walked into the chiesa (church) instead because the doors were wide open.

When I lived in Florence by myself in 1998, I worked close by and would often go to the chiesa. I never had a reason to go, but felt comfortable inside alone. I'd sit in front of a statue of a saint to the left of the altar for a few minutes and just stare at it. Many times I felt the urge to write and I'd pull out a notebook and scribble some notes to myself.

I hadn't been inside the chiesa in a long time because it was closed for a while. I didn't have much time, but I did walk up to the statue that I used to stare at and and take a good look at it. The statue is of a small saint with a burning heart and a book. I was once told which one it was, but I can no longer remember. It wasn't important, but I just felt like the statue was a good companion to me when I would sit there alone.

Today the middle doors of the chiesa were open and I peered outside to look at the piazza. The contrast was great while I observed the lively and sunny piazza from inside the quiet and dark chiesa.

A few people are enjoying a coffee on the terrazza (terrace) of one of the cafés in the piazza. The tall leafy trees in the piazza make me think of the countryside.

I walk outside toward the banchi to wait for my friend in front of a café. Even though there are people walking around and the mercato is open, I can still hear the water trickle down the fountain in the middle of the piazza.

It's a cool and sunny morning, so it feels even more pleasant in the shade. When I see my friend walking toward me, I'm so happy, but a part of me would like to stand in the piazza for longer just to take it all in.

After our time together, I leave the piazza and look at the closed chiesa. I had hoped to take another peek inside, but now I'll have to wander over to piazza Santo Spirito another day to enjoy it longer.

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August 2009


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