by Melinda Gallo

From knowledge to appreciation

There is something special about Palazzo Vecchio that I didnít realize until I visited it last Saturday. I have looked up at the torre (tower) every day since I went up the Torre díArnolfo. Each time, I canít stop myself from smiling. So much joy buzzes inside of me that I canít not be happy. I feel that deep connection with a few specific places in Florence, like Orsanmichele, San Miniato, and the Bargello. I didnít think that another place in Florence could become as special as those are to me.

I even walked through the Palazzo Vecchio a couple of times this week instead of going around it. I rarely looked at the people milling around, but rather focused on the architecture and artwork. I felt a sense of pride when I was inside the Palazzo Vecchio. I have much more appreciation for my beloved city and its history thanks to the visit last week.

I find that knowledge is more a personal power, not a power to be used against others. For me, knowledge leads to appreciation, which in turn allows me to open my heart a little bit more. I know my heart, just like everyone elseís, is vast and can contain much more than I have in there already, so I look forward to more opportunities to learn. They say we only use a small percentage of our brains, but I wonder if we only use a small percentage of our hearts too.

What I love about living in Florence is that I see it with innocent eyes. Because I wasnít born here and didnít have much knowledge of it before arriving here, I feel fortunate to be open to discover even more about it. I know that not only will that knowledge enrich me, but it will also allow me to expand my heart. And what a wonderful double gift.

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