by Melinda Gallo

Taking the time to smell the roses

I always look forward to being in Florence during the month of May. Itís when I get to admire the flowers in Florence. Every morning this week, I looked out the window to see if the weather was good to go to the Giardino Bardini to have a walk around, but unfortunately I was either busy or the weather was a little quirky. Yesterday evening, I walked along the Arno toward Ponte Santa Trinita in the hopes of catching the sunset. When I saw that it was a bit overcast, I crossed the Ponte Vecchio and turned left down via dei Bardi.

Living in Florence :: Taking the time to smell the roses

Since I only had about 45 minutes, I thought itíd be fun to walk up to Piazzale Michelangiolo to admire the city from above. I continued on to San NiccolÚ and walked through the Porta San Miniato. Right before I reached the stairs leading to the piazzale, I caught a whiff of sweet-smelling roses. I couldn't resist taking a peek at the Giardino delle Rose (Rose Garden), so I immediately walked through the entrance in the stone wall to the left of the stairs. The smell of the roses intensified with each step.

I find the Giardino delle Rose to be one of the most romantic spots in Florence especially when the roses are in bloom. I slowly hiked up the stone path and admired all the roses of different colors: red, fuchsia, pink, yellow, and white. Surprisingly, there weren't many people in the giardino: a small family was walking down the other side of the grassy area, one couple was on a bench facing the city, and another couple was sitting on the grass surrounded by rose bushes. I stood up at the top and looked out at the giardino to take it all in: the roses, the rooftops, and the monuments in my beloved city.

I exited the giardino and walked down the stairs while most people were walking up the stairs to go to Piazzale Michelangiolo. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, a Japanese girl and her mother stopped me to ask me if they were on the right road to get to Piazzale Michelangiolo. I told them that they just had to walk up the stairs and theyíd see it on their left. When the young girl turned away from me, I rushed toward her to tell her to walk through the Giardino delle Rose. I told them that it was a minor detour, but that it was well worth it. Besides, who could resist the smell of fragrant roses?

I didnít look back to see if they took my advice, but I hope they did. It would be unfortunate to come to Florence during the month of May without taking the time to smell the flowers (and especially the roses). I know that I look forward to this month every year. My next flower tour will hopefully be the Giardino dell'Iris, which is only open a couple of weeks a year.

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