People often ask me for my advice when they come to Florence for a visit. Instead of giving them any specific information about where to go and what to visit, I always suggest that people let themselves be drawn into Florence. Even though I have lived here for many years, I still enjoy letting Florence lead the way. For me, itís the best way to discover new aspects of my beloved city. If I stick to what I know and where Iíve been, Iíll never discover anything new.
Even though I have lived in Florence for many years, I make a point almost every day to savor it. Living in Florence, I obviously have the luxury of time. Iím able to visit Florence at my own pace, see it at different times of the day, and return multiple times to the same place.
Sometimes when I want to take a break, I just go for a walk around Florence. Even if I have an idea of where I want to go, I still enjoy letting myself turn down a different corner, take a side street, look up to see the details on buildings, monuments, and churches, and stop once in a while to just digest the beauty around me.
I soak up my beloved city with my eyes, of course, but also with my other senses. I try to pause and be fully present where I am so that I can feel the wind brush up against my skin, smell the different odors and scents wafting around me, and listen to the church bells as they ring.
A few weeks ago, I was walking toward Piazzale Michelagiolo to watch the sunset and noticed the gate to the Giardino delle Rose was open. Even though they were closing in ten minutes, I decided to walk through it instead of taking the steps. I had hoped to exit underneath the piazzale, but the gardener told me I had to go back out to the steps. As I walked through the giardino, I couldnít help but take a photo of the lovely light cast on the rosebushes right before sunset. I stroll through the Giardino delle Rose quite a bit in the morning, but it was the first time I actually walked through it in the evening. I not only enjoyed spending a peaceful moment smelling the roses on my hike up to the piazzale and listening to the birds chirping, but I was also treated to a lovely scene of Florence that I had never witnessed before.
Florence has taught me to go within and listen to that gentle voice inside of myself. I have learned to not let my mind indicate the way, but rather let my heart do it. If you come to Florence for a visit, I hope that you'll be able to let your heart lead the way and not only discover, but experience, Florenceís beauty in a way that brings you great joy.
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