by Melinda Gallo

Ponte Vecchio as the center of Florence

Even if the actual center of the city is the Abbondanza statue in Piazza Repubblica, my sense was that the Duomo was more at the center of the city. Today, however, while I was standing on the Ponte Vecchio, I felt that the center might just be this ponte (bridge) because it connects the two halves of the city: the intellectual side with the artistic side.

After walking along the Arno this morning, I stopped on the Ponte Vecchio and stood against the low stone wall, looking over the Arno and out at Ponte Santa Trinita. I watched cars, buses and people moving across the ponte toward via Tornabuoni. Canoes glided under the still water of the Arno, leaving rings in the water that rippled to the edge.

Above me, clouds of varying shades of grey slowly gravitated to the North. It looked like it was about to rain even if the sun did peek out once in a while. I enjoyed the feeling of the warm breeze brushing against my face on this early Autumn day.

The Ponte Vecchio feels like the center of the city not only because it links the two sides of the city, but also because almost anyone who comes to the city makes their way to this ponte. I imagine it to be the heart of the city with the Arno flowing underneath, dictating the level of energy. Rushing water indicates high energy and sluggish water signifies a more relaxed energy.

For being a busy city, it was rather quiet on the Ponte Vecchio. I could hear the murmur of voices behind me, but the water below seemed to drown out the traffic that I can usually hear when Iím on the lungarno (road along the Arno).

As I stood there, I found it hard to believe that only a few days ago I was on the beach looking out to the East, taking in the ocean. Today, however, I found myself standing in Florence above another body of water, taking in my beloved city.

I stood at the Ponte Vecchio for almost two hours, I remained in quiet contemplation while people came up to the same low wall next to Cellini to take photos. I was entranced by the fiume and didnít notice much of what was going on behind me.

The times that I spend embracing my city are special for me. I canít help but feel rejuvenated when I spend even a few moments taking in the city and transmitting my love and appreciation. No matter how much love I send its way, my beloved city seems to always give me so much more.

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