by Melinda Gallo

First day of the year

The festivities in town started early last night with petardi (firecrackers) going off before the sun even went down. Many of the shops had closed early even though many people were strolling the streets. We left Florence at 10pm to go to dinner and stayed out of the city last night. However, this morning when I woke up, I couldn’t wait to return so that I could rush around my beloved city and take some photos. I first headed West down the lungarno where I saw them putting up the sign that said, “Buon 2012” on the Ponte Vecchio. When I first arrived, they were just hanging the “Buon” sign. The street along the Arno, which was littered with broken glass, bottles, and plastic cups, but was virtually empty with only a handful of people out. The morning sun cast long shadows onto the street, but didn’t do much to warm up the air.

Living in Florence :: First day of the year

I walked up to Ponte Santa Trinita, admiring the Arno, and turned down via Tornabuoni. I hadn’t been down this street in a while and was looking forward to seeing it without the crowds. I took a picture of the Colonna della Giustizia (Column of Justice), which is the tallest (and I think the most beautiful) column in town. Florence has only seven erect columns sprinkled around town, but this one always captivates me.

I continued my walk down via Tornabuoni, past Palazzo Strozzi and through Piazza Repubblica, which they were busy cleaning up, and then made my way to the Duomo. By the time I reached the Duomo, more people were out strolling the streets and taking photos. With the temperature slowly rising and the sun accompanying us into the new year, it was a joy to be outside.

I took quite a few photos, but the one that really struck me was the one I posted here of the Colonna della Giustizia. The expression that came to mind was “to do oneself justice,” which means to make full use of one’s abilities. For the first day of the new year, it’s a great goal to make for me. May we all put our talents and skills to good use, bring happiness to ourselves and others, and enjoy the process.

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