by Melinda Gallo

Florence is my greatest inspiration

Florence is my greatest inspiration, and yet at times my greatest distraction. I often want to lose myself in her embrace. I enjoy navigating the streets in the centro storico (historical city center), strolling around her gardens, visiting her museums and churches, standing on her many bridges, and seeing her at different times of the day and from different angles. When Iím outside, Florence often nudges me to go in different directions, whispers ideas to me, inspires me to look around more, and leads me to explore more of the city. It feels like she wants me to embrace more of her with my heart.

Living in Florence :: Florence is my greatest inspiration

I initially came to Florence to find my inspiration to write as well as to learn Italian. I found my inspiration to write, but not in the way I thought. I thought some great idea would be bestowed upon me. Instead Florence inspires me in a different way. Florence holds a space for me to stay in my heart so I can express myself and share more love with others. I never thought I would ever publish photos of Florence on Instagram and yet it has become one of my greatest passions.

Itís impossible not to be inspired by Florence. It's not by chance that so many people come for a visit and then feel an inclination to return or even stay longer. She inspires us all to create a stronger connection with our hearts and nudges us to sift through our emotions and reach for more love.

With all of her inspiration flowing to me, it can sometimes feel like a distraction. If Iím not focused on what Iím doing, Iím easily distracted by the church bells ringing every hour, the noises in the piazza below, and the vibrant colors streaking across the sky. More than once, I have dashed outside to take a picture of a sunset (like the one here) just by what I could perceive from my windows. In the summer, itís even more difficult to not be distracted by her because my apartment windows are open and the boundary between my apartment and the city is thin.

Over the years, I have learned to balance my time so I remain open to Florenceís inspiration and yet still focus on what Iím doing. I would never want to turn off her inspiration, but sometimes I have to seclude myself a little bit to focus more intently on what I need to do. Almost every day, I spend an hour communing with Florence. Every single time, I end up taking photos because, of course, Florence canít help but inspire me.

In the end, Florenceís inspiration nudges me to always live from my heart and experience more love and joy in the moment. It doesnít matter if I write or take photos, whatís important is that I feel love in the moment and that I share love.

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