by Melinda Gallo

For the second time this week, I walked to Ponte alle Grazie where I looked at the Ponte Vecchio before taking off on my morning run. After crossing the bridge, I headed away from the city toward Ponte San Niccolò. I first went past Piazza Demidoff where the large monument is hiding behind scaffolding. I kept close to the low wall on the left to give the speeding bikes more room to pass me.

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Living in Florence :: Evening strolls

I missed my first sunset on Saturday, so Sunday evening when I saw the sky darken I ran outside with my macchina fotografica (camera). I headed toward the sun that was quickly disappearing. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to stop to take some photos, but snapped a few along the way. I’m sure I’ve taken multiple photos of the same sights, but each time they seem different to me. At different times of the day and in different lighting, the city is transformed.

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This morning when I woke up, I was happy to look out the window to see bright blue skies, the jade-colored Arno, the yellow, white, and orange buildings across the river, the leafy trees, and the patches of green grass on the hillside. I returned from Paris last night where I’d been for two weeks. In the winter, Paris can be a little bleak. The contrast of colors between the two cities is great.

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Living in Florence :: Power of the Arno

Florence is not only one of my great loves, but it is also a good friend. Early this evening, I went to Ponte Santa Trinita with the four statues on each corner and stared into the Arno facing the Ponte Vecchio. I saw a piece of wood floating on the surface slowly making its way toward me. I imagined putting all my concerns, worries, and incessant thoughts on top of it. I watched it steadily pass under the bridge and down the river to the West. I crossed the bridge and watched that piece of wood some more. Letting go is always difficult, and sometimes I enjoy watching it slowly get smaller instead of just disappearing.

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In Italy today, we celebrate Epifania (Epiphany). It’s the last holiday in a string of major holidays (Christmas and New Year’s) until Easter. After a cool day yesterday with rain most of the afternoon, this morning is cloudy, but sunny. For the second morning in a row, the sun has lit up the sky with oranges, pinks, and yellows that I normally only see at sunset. The city is quiet with a few people bundled up strolling around town. Almost all the shops are closed this morning even though the big after-Christmas saldi (sales) started yesterday.

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Living in Florence :: First day of the year

The festivities in town started early last night with petardi (firecrackers) going off before the sun even went down. Many of the shops had closed early even though many people were strolling the streets. We left Florence at 10pm to go to dinner and stayed out of the city last night. However, this morning when I woke up, I couldn’t wait to return so that I could rush around my beloved city and take some photos. I first headed West down the lungarno where I saw them putting up the sign that said, “Buon 2012” on the Ponte Vecchio. When I first arrived, they were just hanging the “Buon” sign. The street along the Arno, which was littered with broken glass, bottles, and plastic cups, but was virtually empty with only a handful of people out. The morning sun cast long shadows onto the street, but didn’t do much to warm up the air.

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