Florence belongs to those who capture her. Those were the words that popped into my head as I was running toward the Ponte Vecchio a little before 6 AM this morning. With my iPhone in the pocket of my running pants, I was not only prepared but also excited to capture all the beauty along my path. The moment I saw the pink hue of the clouds behind the Ponte Vecchio, I knew my run was not going to be as fluid as it normally was becuase I wouldn’t be able to resist taking photos of Florence as she wakes up.
I haven’t run along the Arno in over a year because I now prefer to run up to the Piazzale Michelangiolo. I not only love being immersed in Florence’s natural beauty as I run up the hill, but I also appreciate the tranquility. I don’t have to keep my eye out for cars, motorini, bikes, and pedestrians. Of course, the main reason for running up to the piazzale is that I’m able to take in the view of my beloved city every time from a few different locations.
After snapping that first photo of the Ponte Vecchio, I began running again and turned onto the Ponte Vecchio to peek at the sky through the arches under the Vassari Corridor. After taking a few photos, I slipped my iPhone back into my pocket and continued my run toward Ponte Santa Trinita. Instead of running up one side of the Arno past four or five bridges, I zigzagged over the Arno crossing every bridge at least once.
When I arrived at the Ponte Santa Trinita, I positioned myself in the middle to take photos of the Ponte Vecchio in the hopes that the light would be a little brighter. I then made my way up the Arno and across Ponte alla Carraia. I continually looked over my shoulder to see how the colors in the sky were changing and when I arrived at Ponte Vespucci, I snapped a photo of the sky as the sun was beginning to illuminate it. I had wanted to go to the next bridge, Ponte alla Vittoria, but I began imagining how the sky would look from Ponte Vecchio and decided to go back.
I quickly ran toward the Ponte Vecchio in the hopes of making it in time to capture the colorful sky through the arches of the Vasari Corridor. And I did. Initially, I was surprised that only a few people walked by as I stood in front of the Cellini statue facing San Niccolò to admire the lovely sunrise. but then I remembered that it was only 6:30am!
Even though I didn’t run as far as I had anticipated, I was able to take a lot of photos of the beauty around me. It’s such a gift to watch Florence come alive in the morning. Delivery men were unloading items into shops in via Por Santa Maria, a handful of cars and motorini were driving along the lungarno, the street cleaners were cleaning the somewhat deserted streets, and only a couple of people came to the Ponte Vecchio to take photos. The center is also so quiet that I could hear the birds chirping as they flew overhead.
I’m looking forward to catching another sunrise while I run along the Arno or through the city center. Capturing the beauty of Florence at sunrise is a gift. These solitary moments reveling in my beloved city fill me up with so much joy that I not only carry with me, but that I also share with others.
Florence has taught me that soaking up and appreciating beauty is one of the most beneficial ways to enrich my heart, mind, and soul. I feel as if all the beauty I receive is then transmitted in everything I do because it has become a part of me.
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