Delighting in the long summer days

The days stretch out in July, allowing us to slow down and bask in the sun. The sun heats the stones of the buildings and the streets, making the air so heavy that we all seek a bit of respite. Pedestrians seek the shady streets or at least thin strips of shade to continue strolling around town. Nature continues to thrive in the gardens and delights us always at sunset.

Living in Florence :: Delighting in the long summer days

Giardino Bardini — July 1, 2022
As I rounded the corner under an old oak tree, I kept my eyes riveted on the panorama. The pearly white clouds graced the skies of varying shades of blue. I breathed in Giardino Bardini’s tranquility as blackbirds and robins chirped from high above, perched on long leafy branches.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino Bardini

I sidled up alongside the jagged stone wall, where rose bushes touted masses of colorful roses. The afternoon sunlight on a small bouquet of white ones caught my attention. When I leaned in to sniff their fragrance, I glimpsed the Duomo peeking behind their glowing petals.

Instead of racing down the incline to enjoy more roses, I scanned the view. Close up and afar. Pausing for a few moments, my heart filled with gratitude. Florence’s gardens remind me how my beloved city and Mother Nature thrive cooperatively, producing an abundance of beauty together.

Giardino delle Rose — July 5, 2022
Under the cloudless sky, I stood next to the fountain in the Giardino delle Rose. Few people dared to linger in the sun and opted instead to occupy every snippet of shade available. I relished the breeze, which the sun had lightly caressed. The singing of countless cicade (cicadas) from the Cypress trees drowned out the chirping of birds. 

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino delle Rose

I kept moving up the garden’s path to ease the piercing sunrays on my body. I paused to glimpse a caper bush’s thin branches that reached out from narrow crevices of the stone slab barrier. The flowers spread out their three white petals to allow its purple filaments to explode with joy. 

Many of the roses have succumbed to the heat. Some were holding onto their crinkly petals, while others only had their stamens that looked like stars atop the branches.

Under the shade of a leafy hazelnut tree, I slipped off my shoes to feel the slippery blades of grass touching my toes. Bees dove into the clover blossoms around the lawn. A baby gecko slinking through the lawn toward my feet startled me.

As tiny lemon and snow-colored butterflies flopped around the rose bushes, one swallowtail butterfly gracefully danced in the air searching for flower blossoms to drink from. 

A couple of minutes before noon, I stood inside the golden rain tree with its lime green pods, shaped like lanterns, hung from its branches. While taking a video of the bells ringing, a hoopoe landed a few meters from me. After it closed its beige and black crown, it pecked at the soil. I tiptoed behind it to snap a photo, but it kept evading me. I did, however, capture it in my video.

Lungarno degli Archibusieri — July 12, 2022
On my walk home after watching the sunset, I stretched out my arms along Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli. A few people strolled down the sidewalk while others sat on the bar terraces. As I crossed the Ponte Vecchio, I glanced to my left at the Duomo at the end of Via Por Santa Maria. 

Living in Florence, Italy :: Lungarno degli Archibusieri

I drifted toward the middle of Lungarno degli Archibusieri to let a bicyclist zip by. I was surprised to see the walkway under the Corridoio Vasariano empty. Only two young lovers, lost in an embrace, sat on the steps further along the road.   

When I glanced through the arched opening, the half moon was glowing in the pale sky above the pastel-colored buildings across the Arno. Swifts flew around, crisscrossing each others’s path.

As the blue hour approached, I paused to breathe in this soothing view. I watched the moon climb higher in the placid sky and radiate its light upon us.

Ponte Santa Trinita — July 19, 2022
As I stood on Ponte Santa Trinita, I breathed in the fuzzy yellow sun as it inched down the hazy sky. Its rays streaked across the buildings and lit up the window frames. The glistening water infused me with a celebratory vibe.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Ponte Santa Trinita

A sultry breeze swept past me, smelling of summer heat, nudged my body toward the sunset. Multiple renaioli (sand digger boats) cruised up and down the Arno, rushing to catch the sun before it dropped behind the horizon.

As the sun turned a deep orange, one renaiolo was sailing east. Sunbeams reached high in the sky and grazed the water.

When the last speck of sunlight hovered above the mountains, I held my breath. After it disappeared behind the skyline, its light continued to glow while the skies grew dim.

As those watching the sunset left the bridge, I headed home. Before arriving at the Ponte Vecchio, I turned around. People lined the brick wall, enjoying the summer evening with drinks in hand.

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