by Melinda Gallo

The day after

This morning I couldnít wait to get outside to take photos of the snow. It was almost difficult for me to sleep with the glow from the snow on the ground reflecting the street lights into our apartment. I woke up and ran outside this morning with the joy and excitement of a child on Christmas morning wanting to open presents.

Living in Florence :: The day after

I headed down the lungarno toward Ponte alle Grazie in the hopes of walking up to Piazzale Michelangiolo. The city was so quiet that it was almost eerie. I could walk in the middle of the street without any concern of cars coming from behind me. When there was one, I could hear it coming thanks to the snow. The ponte (bridge) was covered with snow and the sidewalk was only a little bit higher than the street.

I slipped a little on the icy snow when I arrived in front of Piazza Demidoff, and saw two grown men slip on the ice with their feet high in the air above them. I decided to walk on safer ground until I got myself some snow boots.

I walked across Ponte Vecchio where the golf tournament was being held, but usually there are large crowds watching, but not today. The snow stole the show.

I walked up the lungarno to Ponte Santa Trinita. I didnít even turn my camera off the entire time and just let it hang around my neck to keep my hands free just in case I slipped.

I took a break when I got to Palazzo Tornabuoni and had a cappuccino and a pastry. I didnít realize just how hungry I was. I heard a group of babbi Natale (Santa Clauses) singing Christmas carols walk through the middle of the palazzo, but I didnít see them until I strolled to Piazza Repubblica where they were standing in the sun.

The city was still covered with snow. Itís hard to believe that in eight hours, 30 centimeters of snow fell. And with the cold temperatures, itís not melting that fast either.

I walked to the Duomo and then to a sports shop to buy myself snow boots. The sales guy thought I was crazy to ask him for them in my size given the circumstances outside. But to his surprise, they still had a pair that was perfect for me. I walked out of the store with my bag of shoes in one hand and walked past the Duomo. I saw a few people fall on the marble steps of the Duomo, and walked by very carefully. I ventured down via Calzaiuoli looking for patches of thicker snow to walk on until I reached Piazza della Signoria.

Everywhere I went there were people like me snapping photos of the snow. I had never seen so many locals with cameras before. One man said to me, ďPasso davanti al Duomo tutti I giorni ed Ť solo oggi che faccio delle foto. I walk in front of the Duomo every day, and only today I take pictures.Ē

I ate another snack and walked home to change my shoes. After uploading my pictures on my computer, I went back out to walk up the stairs to Piazzale Michelangiolo. The stairs were covered with a thick layer of snow, much more than last year.

After taking photos up at the piazzale, I walked down the rampe (ramps) behind the Torre di San NiccolÚ. I didnít want to take the stairs after seeing one guy going down on his hands and knees because they were slippery in spots.

I wrapped around San NiccolÚ and strolled past Piazza Demidoff where I started this morning. I then had to walk to Santa Croce to see if there was any snow left, and there was.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I had walked around town taking photos for five hours. Iím happy that I took them because when I looked out at my piazza, I noticed that the sun melted some of the snow on the ground, and turned it to dirty slush.

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