Taking the time to be with my beloved city

During these past few weeks, I was inspired me to focus on soaking up my beloved city. It has been a treat to walk around and just revel in Florence’s streets and piazzas. The flow is interesting: busy days and quiet mornings and evenings. I have taken many photos, but wasn’t inspired to write anything. Sometimes a sentence would trickle in, but then I would lose the motivation to write more. For me, these moments are always special and yet once they have passed, they become memories.

Living in Florence :: Taking the time to be with my beloved city

I hope you enjoy these posts because when Florence inspires me to write and share, it is a blessing for me. Immersing myself in a moment with all my senses invigorates me. Each photo and brief anecdote are gifts because when I see it days or even months later, this memory bubbles up and the sensations return.  

Giardino di Boboli — June 25, 2023
Crickets chirped and birds sang on my promenade through Giardino Bardini to reach Giardino di Boboli. The stifling heat was bearable thanks to a cool breeze that circulated through the leafy bushes. I glimpsed the Duomo through the branches of an oak tree. Without losing my momentum, I continued to the exit. I hiked to the top of Giardino Bardini to reach Giardino di Boboli.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino di Boboli

My breathing slowed down when I reached the winding road that led me past Forte di Belvedere. After entering the gardens, I made a beeline for the Kaffeehaus. At its base, people gathered in the shade to benefit from the milder temperatures.

Under the harsh rays of the sun, I strolled around fruit trees that showed off tiny fruits clustered on spindly branches. I paused alongside the fountain, where water lilies enlivened the basin below the statue of Ganimede e l’aquila. Only the gold cross atop the cupola was visible through the overgrown bushes. 

Before continuing my visit, I glanced over my shoulder. From the shady plateau, I was treated to an expansive view of with the Cappelle Medicee, the Duomo, and the Torre di Arnolfo. The warm scent of dry earth and parched grass hung in the sticky air.

I wandered down dusty walkways, crossing trails with others who tried to avoid the heat. At the limonaia, I zigzagged through the narrow paths, where colorful flowers smiled at the sun and long lavender branches swayed.

Instead of walking back through Giardino Bardini, I exited via Palazzo Pitti. The contrast with the busy one-way street was unsettling. A taxi loading passengers caused the cars behind him to honk in unison.

As I left the sloping piazza and walked toward the Ponte Vecchio, I reminisced about the tranquility I found in the alleys and botanical gardens.

Campanile di Giotto — July 13, 2023
As clouds suggesting rain undulated overhead, I headed to the Campanile di Giotto. Faint puffs of wind cooled down the thick and humid air for only a moment.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Campanile di Giotto

Wearing light summer gear that clung to my body, I hiked up the narrow staircases, pausing to let others pass by as they marched toward the exit. I surveyed the panorama from the four openings.

On the top level, I watched tourists circling the terrace atop the cupola. We all enjoyed our unique perspective of the city. I took in the intricate details of the Duomo: the terracotta tiles, the crowning gilt sphere and cross, the weather-stained marble, and the perfect shape of the dome.

A roar of thunder sounded after I left the campanile. I had hoped for rain, but it never came. The cloudy skies offered us a respite from the sunbeams that have been overheating the downtown.

Often, I admire Florence from afar at the gardens or from Piazzale Michelangiolo, but to be in the centro storico, rise above the crowded streets, and embrace the entire city.

Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi — July 31, 2023
With the fragrance of roses infused in my clothes after exiting Giardino delle Rose, I wandered up the Viale Poggi toward Piazzale Michelangiolo. Only one car passed me as I walked under the shady trees. The heat slowed me down, but the shade encouraged me to keep going.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi

The rhythmic sound of the cascading water in the Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi became louder with every step. Bouncy clouds hung overhead as if they had been placed there one by one. While gazing at the Duomo, I admired how the Battistero’s white triangular roof shimmered in the sunlight.

The noon sun illuminated the entire city. My gaze ascended the verdant hills and mountains, where patches of shadow drifted over them. I stood in the shade while admiring the view and reveling in the quietude.

Piazza Santa Croce — August 5, 2023
A thin layer of clouds sprinkled rain on Florence like a fairy, sprinkling her magic dust. The wind picked up, bringing a new energy to the city.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino di Boboli

On my way to Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio, I wove through a group of tourists. After passing them, I looked up and saw Santa Croce framed by two palazzi. The sliver of piazza spurred me to pause for a moment alongside a half-empty bike rack.

An occasional car drove by as large groups, following a guide with a colorful flag, traversed the piazza.

The gray clouds hinted that more rain was coming, so I continued on to the open market. 

Almost an hour later, I returned to Piazza Santa Croce. The church bells chimed when I passed below Dante. Standing below the basilica, I peered up at the façade. A sense of serenity washed over me as my eyes absorbed its magnificent details. My steps were lighter as I made my way back home with all my seasonal goodies.

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