by Melinda Gallo

Experiencing the fall in Florence

This morning while I was running on the Ponte alle Grazie, I wasnít sure which way I wanted to go: either through town along the Arno past the Ponte Vecchio and toward Le Cascine or up to Piazzale Michelangiolo. It wasnít until I saw the sun peeking through the clouds above the mountains that I decided to run up to the piazzale. As I ran along the Arno on the sidewalk with cars and motorini (scooters) passing me by, I felt a slight thrill.

It has been a long time since I last ran in Florence. When I returned last week, I didnít have a chance to run and when I was in Matera, I didnít feel like running.

When I turned off of via della Fornace, a residential street off the lungarno and started running up the tree-lined viale (large avenue), I was in my stride. I watched my step because of the uneven stones along the path. Cars slowly passed me, but I didnít pay much attention to them. For years, I have walked up the sidewalk to the Piazzale Michelangiolo and running up it today filled me with many of those sweet memories.

When I reached the Piazzale Michelangiolo, I stopped running. Before taking in the view of my beloved city, I stood at the eastern side of the piazzale and faced the mountains to see the sun streaming through the thick, grey clouds. After a few minutes, I continued walking around the piazzale. While I faced the centro storico (historical center), I admired the sea of red roofs under the light grey, misty clouds overhead.

Memories of Matera came to me as I looked out at my beloved city. I felt an even greater appreciation of Florence: the variety and mix of colors that fill me with joy. I took in all the colors that I could see: the greenish water in the Arno, the trees with multi-colored leaves, the pastel-colored buildings, and even the terracotta rooftops.

On my run back down, I admired the top of San Miniato church before turning down Via del Monte alle Croci. I looked out at the olive grove and could smell the burning scent of leaves.

When I returned to town, I stretched out in a small garden off of Lungarno Torrigiani. The air was slightly humid and it smelled as if it had recently rained. The clouds were dissipating a bit and the blue sky was opening up over my beloved city. It was a joy not only to run, but to also take in my beloved city. Fall is my favorite season and to see the colors change before my eyes is a lovely gift. Iím grateful for the time I get to spend in Florence because there is nothing like fall here. I not only get to see the season change, but I truly feel it.

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