by Melinda Gallo

Florence as friend, teacher, and lover

My trip home to Florence went by so quickly, but I gained so much this time around. Itís interesting that each time I return home and then go back to France, my understanding of both city increases. Not in a way to define each one better, but to open myself up to discover more around me, to appreciate the details, and to understand that the world is beautiful in all of its complexities.

Living in Florence :: Florence as friend, teacher, and lover

On my last morning in Florence, I woke up early and was out the door when the bells of the church rang seven times. I donít think I have visited my beloved city so early in the morning, but it was something I felt truly inspired to do. I had a rough itinerary in my head due to my time constraints. I made my rounds by going to Piazza della Signoria, via Calzaiuoli, the Duomo, Piazza Repubblica, via Tornabuoni, via Porta Rossa, Piazza del Mercato Nuovo, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Piazza del Pesce, along the Arno and back home. I stopped only once to grab a cappuccino and a pasta (sweet pastry) at CaffŤ Rivoire in Piazza della Signoria. I stood at the bar watching the sun rise behind the Palazzo Vecchio and the shadows on the ground grow smaller and smaller.

In the 45 minutes I walked around, I felt inspired to capture images of my beloved city with my iPhone. Not just for me to tuck them in my heart, but to share my morning walk with others. I took pictures of scenes that I rarely see because I usually only go outside early to run. It was such a treat to admire Florence while it was waking up.

When I was on the plane heading back to France, I came to understand that Florence not only fills me with joy, but also enables me to share joy with great ease. When I am in Florence, emotions flow in and out of me. Almost like my breath, it becomes automatic. I also feel more loving, which enables me to share what is nestled in my heart without asking for anything in return. Florence always gets me back in touch with what is important in life: emotions and my relationships with others.

I am grateful for my time home in my beloved city because it became even clearer to me that my heart is a muscle. The more I use it, the stronger it becomes. The more love I give, the more love I receive. Not necessarily from outside, but from within. Itís as if love multiplies when you share it with others.

Thank you Florence for being my great friend, teacher, and lover.

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