by Melinda Gallo

Delighting in Florence’s vivacity

The moment my foot stepped onto the loose gravel path in Giardini Bardini, I exhaled and my entire body immediately relaxed. I smiled when the sun peeked over the stone wall and greeted me. With every breath, the sweet scent of the giardino instilled my body with peace and joy. All the time I spend in Florence’s gardens is not only precious to me, but also sacred. It’s a time for me to tap into Florence’s energy so I can release whatever needs to be released, become more present, and open myself to the love around me.

Living in Florence :: Delighting in Florence’s vivacity

With each step through the giardino and up to the terrace, my heart expanded. I smiled at every tree, rose bush, flower, and grassy area. It’s such a joy to be surrounded by nature whose energy is so peaceful and enchanting.

While walking under the pergola where the vines are now bare, I looked out at Florence and thought about how I live Florence. Florence is not just where I have made my home; it’s a city where I am alive. I open myself up to her, embrace her, revel in her, honor her, and appreciate her.

I make a point every single day to commune with Florence by visiting one of her gardens, climbing up toward San Miniato al Monte to gaze at her from above, walking along the Arno, contemplating a sunrise or sunset, admiring her monuments and churches, or strolling through her streets. My intention is not only to commend her on her beauty and powerful energy, but to send love back to her with every step.

When I sat down on a wooden bench in the sun, I relaxed my body even more and tried soak up as much of Florence as I could through all of my senses. While admiring the well-manicured grass and rose bushes in the area on the hill below the terrace with Florence in the distance, I delighted in hearing the murmur of people’s voices, a couple of dogs barking, the hum of cars and motorini (scooters) traveling around the streets, church bells ringing in the distance, and birds chirping in the trees overhead. All I could think of was what a glorious gift it was to delight in Florence’s vivacity.

When the one o’clock church bell rang at a couple of different churches, I strolled through the giardino on my way to the exit. When I walked out onto via de’ Bardi, my steps were lighter and my heart was bursting with joy. I felt so much gratitude for being able to fill up on so much beauty and tuck it all in my heart in such little time. Sometimes we think we don’t have time to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. But what is life but these precious moments where we commune with nature and fill up on beauty and love?

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