by Melinda Gallo

Views that inspire me to write

This morning I couldn’t wait to get out of my apartment so I could take advantage of my day off from work. Over the weekend, I decided to spend Monday soaking up my beloved city and focusing on my writing projects. I rushed downstairs and strolled along the Arno. With the Ponte alle Grazie behind me, I headed toward Ponte Vecchio. I had made mental plans of how I would spend my morning. I usually write at home, but felt a pull to write somewhere new.

Living in Florence :: Views that inspire me to write

While I was walking along the Arno, I was trying to think of a place to go and I thought of Sesto on Arno, which is on the sixth floor of the Excelsior Hotel. I imagined myself sitting on the terrace looking out over the city while the sun beamed overhead.

When I arrived at the hotel, the concierge told me that the bar wasn’t open until noon. It was 9 am and I didn’t want to wait for it to open. I told him of my plans to sit and write, and he said, “Sarebbe il posto perfetto per te. (It’d be the perfect place for you.)” I thought of another libreria (bookstore) around the corner, but I knew it wouldn’t be open this early.

I walked up to the Arno and stood there looking at San Frediano in Cestello when I took this photo. It was a beautiful day, but I couldn’t sit outside anywhere becuase it was a bit chilly. I headed back toward the Ponte Vecchio and suddenly thought of another hotel with a spectacular view: the Hotel Lungarno. I had been many times for an aperitivo, but never in the morning.

When I entered, there was only one man sitting on a couch under the large windows facing the Arno. A man greeted me and asked me if he could help me. I told him that I’d like to sit down for a coffee and stay to write. “Con piacere, signora. With pleasure, madame,” he said. He asked me to follow him and led me up to a corner table next to the fireplace. “Č il posto migliore se vuole scrivere. It’s the perfect place if you want to write.”

I didn’t realize it at first, but the table was actually a scrivania (desk). I sat in the chair under the window and peered out at the Arno and the Ponte Vecchio every once in a while. The waitress brought me my cappuccino and a brioche (croissant). I first had my breakfast and opened up my notebook. The man next to me eventually left with a woman he was waiting for and I was in the lobby alone. The fire from the fireplace warmed me up and the view of the Arno filled me with joy. How could I not be inspired to write?

I wrote for a short while and then felt a little distracted because I kept having to stop to look at the river. The man who initially greeted returned and asked me, “Tutto bene, signora? Is everything OK, madame?” I responded that I wanted to move to the couch to face the Ponte Vecchio and he said, “Senza problemi. Vuole una mano? No problem. Do you want help?” I thanked him, but picked up my notebook, jacket, and purse, and moved to the couch.

In my apartment, I usually see the Arno from the other side so it was nice to see it from this shadier side. Birds were flying around, diving into the water to get food, and the city was slowly waking up.

I ended up staying for a few hours, but had to leave to grab lunch with a girlfriend. The man asked me if I would return. “Č come se fosse tutto per Lei oggi (It’s as if it was all for you today),” he said. I told him how perfect it was for me because I was able to enjoy the view and write. “Torna domani Are you coming back tomorrow?” he asked me. I said that I’d return, but I didn’t way when. I resist making plans mostly because the best things come about when I don’t plan them. “Buona giornata e a presto (Have a nice day and see you soon),” I said.

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