by Melinda Gallo

On Sunday, I walked over to Vivoli for colazione (breakfast). It was only 10am when I arrived, but they had already sold out of bomboloni (cream-filled donuts). I reluctantly chose a cornetto (croissant) instead and my friend who works there placed it on the bar for me. I had been thinking about having a bombolone since I woke up because I ate one the other day and loved it. They remind me of when I first arrived in Florence. Every time I walked into the bar around the corner from my apartment, the guy would set it out for me on a plate and make my cappuccino.

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I have undoubtedly let Florence into my heart and soul. My beloved city has touched me so profoundly that I have become a better person because of my living here. But it hasn’t been just the city that has affected me, but also the people. I have always been rather friendly and open to meeting new people, but after being in Florence for the last ten years, I have realized that my friendliness was initially superficial and now it has deepened thanks to the Florentines.

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Pasqua (Easter) seems mark the beginning of the tourist season in Florence each year. From my last time home a couple of weeks ago to today, the number of people visiting Florence has definitely increased. While many dislike the large amounts of tourists who “invade” the city, I see their arrival more as the beginning of us sharing Florence. We’ve been fortunate to have a few quiet months in Florence since October even if the number of tourists spiked around Christmas. It’s important to appreciate the ebb and flow in Florence because the city has its seasons and rhythm like everything else.

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It’s not that I’m afraid to fly, but I honestly didn’t feel safe in the Avro RJ85 that took me between Florence and Paris. It felt a bit like an economy car that was certainly efficient, but just wasn’t as sturdy. When we hit turbulence, it felt more like we were in a car racing over a speed bump. I dislike, however, thinking that my last moment on Earth could be while sitting on an airplane with a bunch of people I don’t even know. I probably wouldn’t think so much about my mortality if everyone would stop saying, “Have a safe flight.” I used to cringe at the words and once said, “Of course I will; I’m not flying the plane.” Even though my friends mean well, that seed of fear lingered in my head for an hour and a half (the length of my flight between Florence and Paris).

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For my run this morning, I headed toward Ponte San Niccolò with the sun glaring in front of me. I tried to look out at the Arno, but the cobblestone sidewalk required more of my attention at times. After crossing the ponte (bridge) and heading back toward town, I was able to take in the city monument by monument. First, I saw the Duomo, then the side of Santa Croce, and above to my left was Piazzale Michelangiolo. Then, I let my eyes fall on the torre (tower) of the Palazzo Vecchio and the Ponte Vecchio.

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