by Melinda Gallo

Soaking up the city

With the tourist season coming into full swing, I have not been crossing the Ponte Vecchio. I can tell by the large groups of students and tourists drifting through the city streets that the season has just begun. Generally, Ponte Vecchio is my gauge to know how busy the city is. I looked at it a few times from along the lungarno and could see how crowded it was.

Since Iíve been going back and forth to Paris, I havenít had as much time to run as I normally like to. So when this week began, I promised myself to go out and either walk or run every day. This morning I went for a run along the lungarno.

The sun was out but the air was still cool as I ran on the cobblestone sidewalk alongside the Arno. I had to make my way through large crowds of people heading toward the city while I was running in the opposite direction.

My favorite part of the run is usually when I reach the Ponte San NiccolÚ where I can see the Arno in front of me and the city in the distance, especially the Duomo.

When I reached Ponte alle Grazie, I noticed that the Ponte Vecchio didnít seem that crowded. I only saw a few people walking across it. I decided to prolong my run and head to Ponte Vecchio.

I havenít probably crossed the Ponte Vecchio since January, so I was delighted to see that there were flags across the top of the buildings on the ponte (bridge). Most of the shops werenít yet open and I could see the top of the Duomo in the distance.

I turned the corner and rang under the Corridoio Vasariano where no one was walking. It felt freeing to run under the corridorio alone. I stopped at the small outlet above the Arno and next to the Uffizi. Normally, I never stop there because people are usually there to take photos. With only one couple standing next to the railing, I stopped and stretched out a little bit while contemplating the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio.

As I stood there, I not only soaked up the warmth of the sun, but also the beauty of my beloved city. Running around Florence in the morning is one of my greatest joys in life. It not only feeds my body, but also my heart and soul.

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