by Melinda Gallo

Dance of separation and connection

During my walk this morning, I didnít march through the crowds of tourists past the view of my beloved city from Piazzale Michelangiolo, but instead stopped at each of the corners of the piazzale to take in Florence. My morning walks seem to be the only time I get to contemplate my beloved city, and today I didnít have to be anywhere so I stood at the railing to take in the beauty of my city.

I noticed that parts of the city stick out from the many palazzi (buildings) like the Duomo, the torri (towers) of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Bargello, San Miniato, and Forte Belvedere. While the city is divided, but not in equal parts, by the Arno, it stretches out to the hills and mountains to the east as well as to the greener areas to the west where the city magically dissipates. The highest concentration of palazzi is in the centro storico (historical downtown area) as if Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio were the two pillars of the city.

I love separating myself from my beloved city while still having it in full view. Only at the Piazzale Michelangiolo do I experience this separation and connection with Florence at the same time. The piazzale is just south of the mura (wall) so I am outside of the centro storico, which is probably why I feel a little detached even though I am technically still in Florence.

I love looking out at Florence and recognizing some of the musei (museums), chiese (churches), torri, and palazzi that I know from street level. Together, they create the city I adore. I realized today that there arenít many straight roads in the city. It made me wonder how much planning was involved in creating Florence. Everything fits together so well that the city appears harmonious and well-balanced, leaving nothing out of place.

Once I pass under the door where a part of the mura in San NiccolÚ is still standing, I feel as if I have returned to my beloved city after a long trip away. I love the dance I get to have with Florence where I separate myself from it and then reconnect. Sometimes looking at the entirety of the city allows me to notice new things and appreciate it even more. This dance is like those moments when I look at my lover from afar and then am able to go back to him to hold his hand and get lost once again in his embrace. Sometimes separation is necessary to truly appreciate what I have.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!