A cupola to celebrate a vista

No matter where I go, I appreciate spotting a cupola. In these last few weeks, I caught an enchanting sunset behind San Frediano in Cestello and glimpsed the Duomo at the end of a street, through the branches of a Judas tree, and from above near Piazzale Michelangiolo. 

Living in Florence :: A cupola to celebrate a vista

Via dei Banchi — March 29, 2023
With a slight chill in the air, I strayed from the crowded streets near Piazza dell’Unità Italiana and headed toward Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Wispy clouds floated in the pale sky. Alongside the basilica, people sipped their coffees on outdoor terraces while others were determined to arrive at their destinations.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Via dei Banchi

Instead of traipsing down Via delle Belle Donne, I veered onto Via dei Banchi the moment I saw the top of the Duomo above a row of palazzi. The morning light glowed along the shadowy road leading to the cupola.

I sniffed the cool air, untouched by the sun, as cars and a motorino drove past.

The rattling of suitcases on the sidewalk lessened as the footfalls behind me became louder. I snapped a few photos in quick succession before three tourists marched by. They continued for a few meters before pausing to capture the same shot.

I proceeded down Via dei Cerretani toward the Duomo. For a few moments, I lost sight of the dome. Right before stepping foot in Piazza di San Giovanni, I gazed at the Duomo. When I reached Via dei Calzaiuoli, I stopped once again to behold the cupola, where tourists stood along the terrace to enjoy the view. 

Lungarno Corsini — April 1, 2023
Along Lungarno Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, people huddled together to take photographs with the Ponte Vecchio as a backdrop. I continued through the shadow of the Corridoio Vasariano and took in a deep breath when I arrived on Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli. Groups—both small and large—sat on the sidewalk terrace sipping drinks while pedestrians and bicyclists navigated between the two bridges.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Lungarno Corsini

The sun was shining from atop a thin layer of clouds on my walk to the center of Ponte Santa Trinita. The wind, passing at a higher velocity above the river, tossed my hair about. The colors overhead were serene while the Arno’s surface was choppy.

After watching the sunset for a half hour with little change, I decided to return home. The chilly winds were odorless, as if they hadn’t touched the city.

As I passed the Estate statue, sunbeams were shooting up from behind the clouds. With my gaze focused on the scene, I made a beeline for Ponte alla Carraia. Before arriving, I paused next to a lamppost on the brick wall. The breeze was steady as I held my iPhone away from me to snap a photo. Passersby strolled by as I watched the rays of sunlight retract. The sun set the sky aglow before sliding out of view.

Giardino Bardini — April 10, 2023
On Easter morning, I rushed along the path in the Giardino Bardini. Taking deep breaths of the fragrant air connected me to the pulse of the city. While hiking up the incline, where leafy branches graced the stone wall below the fruit orchard, the boom of the Scoppio del carro (Explosion of the cart) rang out. 

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino Bardini

Pausing next to the hedges, I took in the panorama while sniffing the mixture of unruly grass and warm soil. 

The Campanile di Giotto was clanging as I made my way through the pergola, where tiny clusters of wisteria were blossoming. The chirping birds added their joy to the celebration day while two dainty white butterflies twirled in the air.

When I reached the top, I ducked into the olive grove, where fuchsia roses drooped from the thin branches. The sounds of the drums Piazza di San Giuseppe included us all in the celebrations.

I paused next to an olive tree, whose branches welcomed me into their embrace. I shimmied up to its trunk and leaned on it. In the shade of a chestnut tree, I watched as visitors came together and then dispersed. Fluffy clouds glided across the sky, the sun’s light flickered.

After the noon bells chimed, many made their way to the exit. Above the hum of traffic along the Arno, blackbirds and robins chirped.

Before exiting the garden, I glanced to my right and spotted David standing above the crowds milling around Piazzale Michelangiolo. His gaze remains fixed on Florence to watch over her. As darker gray clouds appeared, shrouding Florence in darkness, the wind became chilly and reminded us that spring has not yet fully arrived.

Viale Galileo — April 16, 2023
The skies were a blanket of gray, emanating a gloomy light onto the city. I strolled along Lungarno Serristori past Piazza Demidoff and hiked up to the Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi. After passing alongside the fountain, where the sound of the cascading water slowed me down, I reached the Piazzale Michelangaiolo.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Viale Galileo

Tourists stood at the beige barrier to take in the panorama. “Magnifique,” a French woman exclaimed, as she snapped a photo inches from my shoulder. 

Meandering along Viale Galileo, my eyes were drawn to San Miniato al Monte, framed by a plane tree’s light green leaves. The cool scent of spring danced in the air.

Below the stone path, yellow dandelions and white daisies swayed above the tall blades of grass, welcoming me with their joy. 

I sat down on the cold stones, planting my feet on the grassy area, and fixed my gaze on the Duomo. The low clouds enveloped the mountains and hills on the city’s edge. I jumped up the second the sun seeped through and set the city aglow. That glimmer of light brought Florence back to life.

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