by Melinda Gallo

Delighting in a sunset

Excitement bubbles up inside of me the moment I reach the low brick wall along the Arno. In the couple of minutes it takes me to get there, my mind flips through the many options of where I can go to delight in the sunset. I only make the decision after I arrive along the Arno and examine the sky. Many factors must be considered, like the presence or absence of clouds, the trajectory of the sun as it sets, and the wind. This week, the sun is a bit farther north so when it sets, itís not in the middle of the Arno like it was a couple of weeks ago.

Living in Florence :: Delighting in a sunset

My favorites spots to view the sunset are from the bridges over the Arno, like Ponte Vecchio, Ponte alle Grazie, and Ponte Santa Trinita. I enjoy seeing the buildings and bridges along the Arno frame the expansive sky. However, my absolute favorite is when the Arno acts as a mirror of what is above so that it is reflected on the water.

A couple of weeks ago, I wasnít sure where to go because I wanted a change. Honestly, if I had a choice, I would only go to Ponte Santa Trinita, but I admit that sometimes the sunset is interesting from other locations. If I donít have a strong feeling about where to go, I point myself in a direction and just walk until I find something. Wherever I end up watching the sunset is always perfect.

I headed along the river toward the Porta San NiccolÚ. I initially thought I would walk to Ponte San NiccolÚ, but noticed that the wind was creating ripples on the water, which would prevent a clear reflection. I crossed the street instead and hiked up the rampe dei Poggi. Itís rare that I head up to Piazzale Michelangiolo only because itís crowded this time of year.

Since the sky was already beginning to change colors, I turned right on viale Poggi and headed back down toward the Giardino delle Rose. Even though thereís no sidewalk on this portion of the viale, I kept my eyes on the sun as it began to set behind the buildings on the other side of the Arno.

As soon as I saw an opening between a tree and a lamppost where I could see the Duomo and Palazzo Vecchio, I stopped to admire it for a few moments. As cars whizzed past me, I inched even closer to the bushes and stood in the gutter.

Once the viale was clear, I backed up into the middle of the road to take a few photos and quickly returned to my spot in case any cars came my way. I loved how the sun was peeking through the branches and was also reflected on the lamppost. Of course, the warm yellow and orange streaks in the sky delighted me too. I remained in my new spot for a few moments until the colors in the sky faded.

I have never been disappointed by a sunset; however, sometimes my photos of it are not spectacular. A few times, Iíve watched the sunset and ended up not posting a single photo. If the photo I take of a sunset doesnít fill me with joy, I donít share it.

For me, a sunset is never only about watching the sun as it highlights the beauty of Florence. Each sunset is a moment for me to honor the end of my day, celebrate the magic of Mother Nature, and, above all, appreciate the day I was fortunate to wake up to. During every sunset, I hold the intention to make space in my heart to receive more beauty the next day that I can enjoy, appreciate, and share.

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