At 5:30 this morning I suddenly woke up. Alessandro and I had planned on going running this morning because we hadn't been out together since this summer. We laid out all of our running gear last night so that we could get dressed and just go. I immediately went to the living room to peek out the windows to see if it was foggy like it was most of the day yesterday, but it wasn't. I could see across the Arno quite clearly.
When we got outside, the air was cold on my face and legs. We didn't wait for the door to our apartment building to shut before beginning our run. It was still dark out with the moon glimmering overhead. I looked up and saw the San Miniato church illuminated on the hillside across the river and forgot how cold the air was on my legs.
As we ran past the Ponte alle Grazie, I looked over the wall to the Arno river. I couldn't help but stare at the reflection of the torre (tower) in San Niccolò glimmering in the seemingly motionless river. The dark purplish and blue sky behind the hills was beautiful to look at, but I had to keep my eye on the street below my feet as I ran in the city streets. I couldn't help but admire the streetlights lined up along the river that made the city look so serene and orderly.
Because we hadn't run outside in a while, we decided to cross over the Ponte San Niccolò instead of Ponte da Verrazzano. We didn't see very many people walkng the streets, but a few people were already sitting in the city buses, driving cars, and riding motorini (scooters).
As soon as we ran across the crosswalk on Ponte alle Grazie, I could finally see the Ponte Vecchio lit up with the top of the Duomo outlining the sky to the right. I was so enchanted that I kept running toward the Ponte Vecchio and barely noticed that my bare hands were still cold.
I had wanted to stop running earlier, but the beauty of the empty and quiet city pushed me forward. Alessandro continued to run down Borgo San Jacopo, so I was alone running across the Ponte Vecchio. The street cleaners had gone by earlier, so the street next to the sidewalk was wet except for a strip in the middle that was dry.
With the soft blue Christmas lights hanging across via Por Santa Maria, I ran in the middle of the Ponte Vecchio and felt as if Florence was all mine to enjoy. I continued running under the lights and then turned right on via Vacchereccia and then toward Palazzo Vecchio, which was right in front of me. There were only three of us in Piazza della Signoria, but I was the only one running toward the Palazzo Vecchio while the other two walked in front of it.
I ran along the narrow street between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi, and then down via dei Neri. The street was deserted except for two people at the edicola (newspaper stand) who were setting up the magazines and newspapers as I ran by.
I turned onto my street and stopped in Piazza Mentana where I then walked to the Arno river. The sun was getting ready to rise and the sky had turned a lighter blue. I stretched outside for a few moments in the hopes of watching the sun rise above the low hills, but I was starting to get cold so I headed back up to the apartment.
I don't think that I have ever ran in the morning moonlight before in my life. I used to get up early to run, but would never go out before the sun was up. I kept telling Alessandro as we were running that I wished I had a camera with me to take a few photos this morning. For now I have to be content with the visions stored in my memory. Luckily, I can conjure them up again when I feel like it, but I will try to go out and take photos one of these mornings so that I can admire my city in a different light.
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