by Melinda Gallo

Since the many changes to the streets of Florence last Thursday, Iíve felt the city is a bit off. Some areas have become pedestrian, like via dei Tornabuoni and Piazza Pitti, and many streets have changed direction. The flow of traffic seems to have shifted and the streets somehow feel awkward to me. For the past few days, I have walked around the city and saw a lot of frustrated and lost people. Today when I walked down via dei Tornabuoni, I felt an emptiness that I have never felt before in Florence.

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Living in Florence :: Solstizio d'estate

For the solstizio díestate (summer solstice), I took a walk around centro (downtown) to enjoy the longest day of the year. At 7pm, the sun was still quite high in the sky, and was setting slowly. The streets were busy even though the shops were closing. Many people were sitting on the terrazze (terraces) of the bars and restaurants in Piazza della Signoria. This evening was the perfect one to enjoy the warm air and brilliant sun.

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This morning, I wasnít in the mood to go for a run. Instead, I went for a walk up viale Michelangiolo to my favorite piazzale (large piazza). I havenít been up there in a while and missed the view of my beloved city. Before taking off, I grabbed my iPhone because I thought Iíd take a few candid shots of the path I go up. I didnít want to bring my macchina fotografica (camera) because I didn't want to be weighed down by it.

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This years is certainly not wanting me to stand still. With my work taking me to Paris two weeks a month and my own writing projects shifting, now we might also be moving apartments. Weíve been in our apartment for the last four years and really had no need to move until now. The piazza below our place (which is usually a parking lot) began to be transformed this morning at 7am. Instead of a handful of cars passing through, the piazza will become a major street for those coming from the lungarno or via dei Leoni/via Proncosolo.

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On my first full day back to Florence yesterday, I went to the Prefettura (Prefecture) for an appointment regarding my Italian citizenship. In the letter that I received last month, they asked me to bring a few documents as well as my American passport, carta díidentitŗ (identity card), and permesso di soggiorno (permit to stay). Before taking off for the States last month, I went to the comune (city hall) to obtain the ones requested.

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I returned from the US this afternoon and was happy to be back in my beloved city. While my plane was landing in Florence, I looked out the window of the airplane and felt my heart melt when I saw the Duomo and the Palazzo Vecchio in the distance. I saw the glistening water in the Arno snake through the city. Itís not just the beauty of the city that I love, but the energy the city consistently emits. I feel its steady flow of love and courage.

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