by Melinda Gallo

Being home and looking out at the city

A friend of ours, Filippo, picked us up at the airport Tuesday afternoon. I was surprised how the much lower the temperature was than when we left a week ago. I slumped in the backseat of the car and looked out the window at the streets leading to centro (the city center). I finally perked up when we drove down via dei Cerretani toward the Duomo. When I first arrived in Florence in 1997, I remember looking up at the Duomo from the taxi and being amazed at how stunning it was. And when I we drove past it yesterday, I smiled just as I did that first time.

After we unpacked, Alessandro walked to his mom's house to get his car and returned with a large bag filled with food she'd prepared for us. She had asked us right after we got off the plane and were still in the airport if we wanted to come by to their place to eat, but we were more tired than hungry. Instead of going to her place, she packed up a care package for us that fortunately lasted a couple of days.

I didn't go out of the house until this morning to get some fruits and vegetables from my ortolano (greengrocer) because we finished the food my suocera (mother-in-law) gave us. I enjoyed our vacanza (vacation), but was physically exhausted from all the walking around.

I kept thinking about going outside to walk along the Arno, to go to one of my favorite chiese (churches), but I couldn't bring myself to go outside.

I would look out my window every now and again to watch the slow-moving Arno. A couple of times a day, I would stand at the window and look out at the tourists walking by. A few would stop in front of the monument and snap a photo before continuing down the Arno while a couple of people jumped over the chain that separates the area and stand in pose next to the monument.

I envied all the people walking by as they enjoyed the cool and sunny days. The weather has been perfect for touring around the city. But no matter how beautiful the city was from our apartment windows, nothing but lack of food pushed me out the door.

I'm fortunate to be able to see the city without going outside, so I felt almost spoiled to be home and yet still seeing so much of my beloved city. I'll eventually go outside to take in my city, but I'm not sure where I'll go first.

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