Savoring the sights, smells, and sounds of Florence

Florence emanates her energy, encouraging nature to reach its pinnacle and inspiring us to do the same. I indulged in many moments, especially an evening stroll along Via Romana, a hike up to Piazzale Michelangiolo, a saunter through the Giardino dell’Iris and the Giardino delle Rose.

Living in Florence :: Savoring the sights, smells, and sounds of Florence

Via Romana — April 18, 2023
On my evening stroll up via Romana, a string of cars zipped by and kicked up the sweet scent of wisteria. A few meters from the entrance of the Giardino di Boboli, the streetlights illuminated the tabernacle and the purple flowers. I stood under the clusters of hanging blossoms and breathed in their heavenly fragrance, which infused me with delight.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Via Romana

I continued along the one-way road, passing the sloping piazza that made the Palazzo Pitti appear even more majestic.

A guitarist singing on the Ponte Vecchio became louder as I approached. A large crowd had gathered around him, singing along to an 80s tune. After making my way through the crowd, they applauded the singer.

When I reached Lungarno degli Archibusieri and walked below the Corridoio Vasariano, the city fell quiet. My steps on the sidewalk echoed and my gaze fixed on the view between the arches. I paused to revel in the pitch black sky and dark, ripply water where golden lights shimmered on the Arno.

Piazzale Michelangiolo — April 22, 2023
In one day, the weather has shifted. With a slight chill in the air at sunrise, the sun steadily gained strength until it reached its peak in the afternoon. Cumulus clouds, escorted by wispy ones, were staggering across the sky while I hiked up to Piazzale Michelangiolo along the wide two-way avenue. The lush valley with wild irises and tall grass was glowing.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Piazzale Michelangiolo

The ginkgo’s shimmering green leaves welcomed me to the large square. I whispered hello to David as I walked by in search of a spot to admire the panorama. 

With my elbows propped on the sand-colored barrier, I held my face in my hands and scanned the vista. Low clouds hovering in the distance offered a bold contrast to the city center. The sun caressed Florence with its warm light, beautifying every angle. My muscles relaxed and my mind cleared with every breath.

When a throng of people arrived around me, I moved further along the edge of the piazzale. Within a few minutes, another group came, holding their phones and cameras up to snap photos in quick succession. As the sun seeped through my clothes and warmed my back, a light breeze brushed against my face and passed through my hair. Regardless of the hubbub, I felt as if I were alone with my beloved city.

When thunder, rumbling from the hills around Fiesole, became louder, I walked down Viale Galileo to San Niccolò. Within a couple of hours, a thick layer of gray clouds hid the blue skies and cooled down temperatures, but the scent of spring hung in the air.

Giardino dell’Iris — April 30, 2023
A veil of opaque clouds dimmed the sun’s light, creating a relaxing vibe as I hiked up to the Giardino dell’Iris. The hazy skies made me feel like I was in a dream. Robins and blackbirds chirped from the towering cypress trees while pastel-colored butterflies danced around the gardens.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino dell’Iris

I followed the curved paths, avoiding the holes and piles of crumbled stones, to delight in the different varieties of irises. Every so often, I caught a whiff of the delicate blossoms. While inhaling one purple iris’s fruity perfume, I realized it’s been a year since I smelled the symbolic flower of Florence. 

After descending to the pond, I returned to the top. I sat on a bench below an olive tree with thorny rose branches wrapped around its trunk. I breathed in the garden’s serenity and disregarded the buzz of traffic from the city center below. The trees remained motionless even though a gentle breeze fluttered by.

While I relaxed and scanned the vista, visitors sashayed through the gardens to savor the irises while they are in bloom.

After circling around one more time, I walked up the stone staircase where the wisteria blossoms perfumed the air. I crossed the piazzale and strolled back to the Arno with a heart full of Mother Nature’s loveliness.

Giardino delle Rose — May 7, 2023
The perfume of roses swept over me when I stepped into the Giardino delle Rose. My eyes gently closed and my shoulders dropped as I breathed in the garden’s tangy scents mingling around me. Pastel-colored butterflies twirled around the rose bushes, adding their touch of joy to the grassy areas.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino delle Rose

I crisscrossed the lawn multiple times to admire the roses’s delicate corollas infused with sunlight as they reached toward the heavens from their thorny branches. The warm breeze made the hazelnut tree’s leaves flutter, as if they were greeting the visitors. Many only passed through to reach Piazzale Michelangiolo while a few paused to look at the roses and sniff the air.

Sparrows dove into the rose bushes and perched themselves on the leafy branches as rose petals dropped silently onto the grass. I was so heartened by the distinct perfumes that I tried to get a whiff of as many roses as I could.

With the scent of roses still lingering in the air, I exited the gardens and strolled up Viale Poggi. I stuck to one side of the avenue, brushing against the laurel shrubs, as cars zoomed by.

The moment I noticed the Duomo framed by blossoming acacia trees, I paused. Their white blossoms flurried in and tumbled onto the pavement. While admiring the panorama, where pigeons soar overhead, Santa Croce’s bells chimed. The moment uplifted my spirits and encouraged me to continue up toward Piazzale Michelangiolo instead of heading home.

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