by Melinda Gallo

A walk to Santo Spirito

Yesterday, I woke up to yet another beautiful summer morning. I knew that I wanted to take my macchina fotografica (camera) with me and thought about where I wanted to go. It didnít take me long before deciding on Santo Spirito. I hadnít visited the chiesa (church) and piazza in a long time and hadnít taken any foto (photos) either. I have always loved the facciata (faÁade) of the chiesa. For me, there is something joyful about it. Not just its unique shape and color, but also its lively piazza. I especially like the fontana (fountain) in the middle of the piazza, which is a rarity in Florence.

Living in Florence :: A walk to Santo Spirito

I walked down the lungarno (street alongside the Arno) toward the Ponte Vecchio. Instead of crossing the ponte (bridge), I continued to Ponte Santa Trinita. For a Sunday morning, I was surprised the streets werenít very crowded. The sun was shining brightly and the Arno appeared to be an olive green. With the blue sky overhead, the colors of the palazzi (buildings) came to life.

I crossed the ponte and walked down via Maggio past the antiquari (antique dealers) while macchine (cars) and motorini (scooters) whizzed past me in the opposite direction.

When I arrived in the side street toward the chiesa, I was happy when the bright yellow facciata of Santo Spirito came into view. I stood below the steps in front to take it all in. The piazza behind me was quieter than usual. The last few times Iíd been to the piazza, the mercato (market) was open and people perusing the bancarelle (stands).

I strolled around the piazza a few times before entering the chiesa. A few people were standing around the fontana while others walked through the piazza on their way somewhere else.

The grandeur of the interior of Santo Spirito always surprises me. Because of its austere facciata, I always expect it to be just as austere, and it isnít at all. I love Santo Spirito for its many cappelle (chapels).

I used to go often to the chiesa and sit down in front of the statue of SantíAgostino. Iíd sit on the wooden pew and write in one of my notebooks. I enjoyed the silence with so few visitors and the fact that I was surrounded by magnificent artwork.

Before I sat down to write, I visited the cappelle before sitting down to take in the chiesa. I sat in silence until the campane (bells) rang. The chiesa was about to close and I walked back outside. I went down the steps to look at the chiesa in its entirety before heading home.

I enjoyed my excursion and hope to return again to take more foto of the piazza. It is always interesting to me how each piazza is different from the other ones in town. Each one has its own personality, which seems to be dictated by the chiesa it was created for.

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