I love how Florence always keeps me open. Even after more than 12 years, I am still learning about her and discovering more each day. Florence isn’t a city that you live in, visit, or read about and think you “know” it. You can learn facts about it, study its history, explore the streets, but you can’t truly know her deeply without taking time to be connected to her. Florence is almost like a person. You can meet her, admire her, acquaint yourself with her, but to know her, you have to create a rapport with her. You have to spend time with her and try to experience her in every season.
It’s impossible to judge Florence by what you see or what you know of her. Not only because these judgments are personal, but also because she is constantly changing and evolving. Like a person, you can’t judge her by superficial reactions, but rather thoughtful introspection.
While I was out walking yesterday, I was looking at the Ponte Vecchio and I thought, “Why is it called “vecchio” and does it have a real name?” I had never really questioned it before, but I knew there had to be a reason. I asked my friend (and Florence tour guide) Alexandra and she said that in the 13th century, the Ponte alla Carraia was built and was considered the “new” bridge. So, that made the other bridge the “old” one.
I enjoy learning more about my beloved city because I like to understand how the city evolved. It didn’t just appear as I see it today. The city was created piece by piece and over history evolved into what it is now. Like a person you meet isn’t just the person who is in front of you, but rather a product of his/her past, experiences, and personal culture.
The past shapes us all, even cities, and it’s an honor to live in Florence where I get to experience her evolve and see how my life is influenced by her and her shifts. I love knowing that I don’t know everything about her and that I have a lifetime to discover her little by little.
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