Returning to Florence is something I always look forward to. I enjoy my time no matter where I am, but there is nothing like coming back to Florence. My beloved city has a way of welcoming me that I appreciate. I always feel safe and loved in her arms. The minute I walk out of the airplane, I look at the mountains in the distance and take in a deep breath. This time, the warm air surrounded me and filled my lungs. My body softened and a smile spread across my lips. All I could think was, “I am home.”
Not only am I really at home in Florence because almost everything I own is here in my apartment, but it’s a sense I have when I am here. Funnily enough, I feel at home in Paris as well, but in a completely different way. It was the first city I lived in after leaving the US where I spent many years. Paris has changed since I left it after being there for five years, but living there is still a pleasure for me.
I love getting in a taxi because I know that I will get glimpses of the city before arriving to my apartment. Because of the construction work they are doing on a couple of streets, my route has changed drastically. Now, the taxi turns down via Roma where I get a glimpse of the Duomo and Battistero. We then drive past Piazza Repubblica and alongside Orsanmichele, my favorite church. We pass behind the Palazzo Vecchio and then we arrive in Piazza Mentana where I get to look up at San Miniato illuminated on the hill across the Arno.
I don’t just take in my city visually, but also physically. I love the feel of the warm air on my skin, the scent of a mix of odors (both good and bad), and the sound of the cars, busses, and motorini (scooters) zipping through the narrow streets.
When I get into my apartment, the first thing I do is open my windows so the city’s air, sounds, and smells can enter. No matter how hot it is, I still enjoy feeling as if I am in the middle of the city while still being tucked away in my apartment.
I am home for a couple of weeks and I intend to take full advantage of my time back. Unfortunately, many of my friends have taken off for the month of August, but I will still enjoy myself by visiting and appreciating my beloved city alone.
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