by Melinda Gallo

On the mornings when I donít go for a run along the Arno, I enjoy taking the time to take a long walk up to Piazzale Michelangiolo. When I woke up this morning, I couldnít wait to go for a walk. The clear blue sky and cool air seemed to be calling to me. I headed out the door and crossed Ponte alle Grazie. I walked toward Piazza Ferrucci, taking a few backroads, and headed up viale Michelangiolo.

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With Venus shimmering to the west and an almost full moon to the east, I stood on Ponte San NiccolÚ with my marito (husband) and our friends. We hadnít planned to see the fuochi d'artificio (fireworks) in celebration of Florenceís patron saint, San Giovanni, because we were in the Maremma this morning walking along the spiaggia (beach).

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For as long as Iíve been in Florence, I have never sat on the steps of the Duomo. The other evening while I was walking by the Duomo, I saw people sitting on the steps and wondered what it would be like to sit there. Before I left our apartment this morning, I told myself that on my way to run a few commissioni (errands), Iíd stop and sit on the steps. At 11am with the sun finally shining overhead after many rainy and grey days, I sat down on the cold marble steps and watched people walk by while others stopped to take foto (photos).

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I wish I had more time in the day: Iíd take more photos and write more about my beloved city. My other website, Florence from the Heart, dedicated to Florence is an outlet for me and other writers who live in Florence. We each select an aspect of the city and let the words flow from our hearts and out to the readers. I asked Andrea Ponsi, an Italian architect, writer, and artist, at his book presentation last week if he wanted to publish his article on via della Ninna because I enjoyed it.

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Living in Florence :: Tourists enjoying my beloved city

At this time of year, I feel so fortunate to have my morning runs when I get to go around the Arno when the streets are less crowded. Itís a joy not getting stuck in a sea of people in the streets and on the sidewalks. This afternoon, via dei Neri was so packed that I had to change plans completely. Two large, slow-moving crowds were going down the street and turning down a sidestreet. Instead of trying to get past them to take my shortcut, I had to continue down via dei Neri. It was a little longer, but definitely quicker.

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Thanks to one of my blog buddies, I found out about a book presentation for Bella Lingua by Dianne Hales at the Societŗ Dante Alighieri. I had invited a couple of friends to come along, but ended up going alone.

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Itís interesting how sometimes when I wake up and hear the quietness of the city, I become more reflective. Today is Festa della Republicca and at this time normally the motorini (scooters) and cars are circulating the streets below. I recently spoke to another woman about being an expat and a few ideas solidified in my mind. I love it when a chance encounter with someone proves to be insightful and meaningful for me.

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