by Melinda Gallo

Connecting to Florence as I run

I enjoy connecting with Florence when I walk along the Arno, across the piazzas and bridges, down the streets, and through the gardens. Florenceís energy swirls around with each step. Another way I connect with Florence is by running in and around the city. I especially love running up to Piazzale Michelangiolo along the Arno, up a tree-lined path, down to Porta Romana, across the Ponte Vecchio, and back to the Arno.

Living in Florence :: Connecting to Florence as I run

I usually stop to contemplate my surroundings when I reach Piazzale Michelangiolo. I love watching the tourists spread across the piazza to take photos of the replica statue of David and of the view of Florence; vendors circle their stands selling trinkets and t-shirts; and other joggers passing by in both directions.

Running allows me to not only nourish my body, but also my heart and soul. When I run, Iím able to admire my surroundings, soak up Florenceís energy, and send love back to my beloved city all at the same time. I not only reach out to my beloved city, but I also reach deeper into myself. Running allows me to become more grounded and centered in myself so Iím able to listen more intently to my heart. It is from my center that I live, connect with others, communicate, and express myself.

My favorite spot to bask in Florenceís beauty is at the low wall right below Piazzale Michelangiolo next to the entrance of the Giardino delle Rose. I enjoy admiring the expansive blue sky with wispy clouds spreading across it, the Duomo standing proudly in the distance, the multi-colored buildings with their terra-cotta rooftops scattered below, and the trees with their bright green leaves waving in the wind.

While my connection is strong when Iím walking around Florence, it is even more intense when Iím running because all my senses wake up simultaneously. Itís a powerful feeling for me to have my energy mix with Florenceís and we intertwine for a few moments.

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