by Melinda Gallo

An unexpected sunset

Last Wednesday, I stood alone on Ponte alla Carraia hoping for the sky to change colors. When I reached the lungarno and looked toward Ponte Vecchio, I saw that the sky did not look promising. For a moment, I wondered if I should just go home. I had been working all day and didnít go outside until the early evening. I was determined to watch the sunset as a gift to myself.

Living in Florence :: An unexpected sunset

I walked to Ponte alla Carraia because I noticed how the day before the sun was setting behind San Frediano. For almost thirty minutes, I battled with the wind whipping past me tossing my hair around so I could barely see. A few people bumped into me even though I was leaning over the bridgeís railing, trying to create as much room as possible on the sidewalk. When I was on my way to the ponte (bridge), people past me with only light jackets on. One girl had on a summer dress and sandals. I zipped up my down jacket and tightened the cotton scarf I had around my neck because the air was getting colder by the minute. I gazed at the light gray sky and kept my eyes on a sliver of orange peeking through the clouds above the rooftops.

Living in Florence, Italy :: An unexpected sunset

Multiple times, I almost walked back home. But something inside of me told me to be patient. The words I heard in my head were, ďBeauty is waiting to present itself to you.Ē Iíve seen thick, grey skies like this at sunset in the past and rarely does it ever change. The clouds seemed thick and rather stagnant. At 7:33 PM, I checked my iPhone and saw that the sunset was taking place in two minutes. It was already well past the golden hour, but I kept standing on the bridge facing west.

Suddenly, the sky lit up. It was almost like someone had turned on a switch and the city began to glow. It wasnít the sun coming directly through the clouds; it was a reflection of the sunlight on the clouds. The sky quickly shifted from gray to yellow, to light orange, and then to a bold pink. Suddenly people appeared on the ponte delighting in this incredible light. Completely awestruck, I pulled out my iPhone and snapped a few photos of San Frediano in Cestello. As quickly as the colors in the sky lightened, they began to darken.

Living in Florence, Italy :: An unexpected sunset

When I turned around to look at Ponte Santa Trinita, excitement rippled through me when I began to imagine what the sky might look like from there. I dashed across the ponte, dodging a bus heading toward me, and rushed down Lungarno Corsini.

I positioned myself in the middle of the Ponte Santa Trinita and whipped out my iPhone. As I began to take a few pictures, a canottiere (rower) popped out from below the ponte as if on cue. Magic was certainly in the air as the colors in the sky became even bolder highlighting a couple of orange streaks. It was as if Mother Nature was using the sky as her canvas.

Iím happy that I didnít turn away when the sky didnít look very promising earlier in the evening and even happier that I listened to my intuition about heading to Ponte Santa Trinita. Itís truly an honor for me to experience such beauty and a gift for me to share it.

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