Navigating Florence in autumn

During the heart of autumn, I traipsed around Florence, basking in views from the gardens and from alongside the Arno. As the days grew shorter and the temperatures dropped, the city continued to shine and emanate her charm.

Living in Florence :: Navigating Florence in autumn

Fontane delle Rampe del Pioggi — September 23, 2023
As I hiked up to the Giardino delle Rose, a cool breeze with a note of summer whisked past. I closed my eyes for a moment to feel the sun caress my face.

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

I traipsed through the gardens, where I indulged in the vibrant roses and filled up on their sweet perfume.

Alongside the “Partir” bronze sculpture, which frames a snippet of the city, I paused. People sipped drinks next to the makeshift café. Before the noon bells rang, I exited the gardens and strode up Viale Poggi. As cars sped down the winding avenue, acacia branches swayed, scattering leaves onto the ground.

Beneath Piazzale Michelangiolo, I sat next to an oak tree and breathed in the pungent scent of autumn. In the pale sky, billowy clouds skirted around the city, allowing the sun to focus its light on the centro storico.

After a wave of tourists passed, I spotted the shadows dance on the pavement that led up to the Duomo. The steady flow of cascading water in the Fontane delle Rampe del Pioggi diminished the hum of traffic and infused me with serenity.

Giardino Bardini — October 13, 2023
After the sun dissipated the early morning fog, I set off for Giardino Bardini. Wispy clouds billowed overhead as the church bells chimed. I stretched out my arms and welcomed the chilly breeze flowing up from the Arno.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino Bardini

I strolled under the shady pergola, where hydrangea flowers bloomed, glancing at the panorama. Right before the terrace gate, I turned toward the olive grove. After I skirted between two large terracotta vases and stepped onto the grass, I let out a long exhale and relaxed my shoulders.

I loved seeing clusters of tiny olives dangling from the branches and the shiny chestnuts scattered on the ground. I was lost in thought until a wood pigeon startled me by flapping its wings and taking flight.

The moment I glimpsed the Duomo through the throng of pointy leaves, I ducked under the wiry branches and stood next to the trunk. I appreciated the tranquility around me and enjoyed hearing only a murmur of the city streets.

I delighted in the autumn colors, enhancing the city scenery as I inhaled the tangy scent of nipitella (calamint) mixed with the fertile soil.

A few minutes later, I wandered through the gardens to the exit at Via dei Bardi. When I walked back across Ponte alle Grazie, I felt lighter and brighter.

Viale Galileo — November 21, 2023
The construction workers stopped working as the noon bells chimed. The cranes became motionless, and a hush settled over Giardino delle Rose.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Viale Galileo

Strolling up the gravel path, I inhaled the rich mix of autumn scents and admired the lush, overgrown grass. The half-naked trees and bushes emanated serenity while a handful of roses filled me with joy. I paused alongside one bush showing off its only rose and listened to the sparrows rustling in the tall cypresses.

I continued through the garden, headed toward Piazzale Michelangiolo, and popped out of the garden’s gated exit. A few visitors milled around the large square, taking photos with the panorama as their backdrop. With the sun shining overhead, the breeze warmed up slightly.

As I walked along Viale Galileo, cars whizzed by in both directions. The golden leaves of the linden trees fluttered in the air as sharp sun rays lit up the walkway.

When I spotted San Miniato al Monte glowing beneath the bright skies where two contrails intersected, I stopped. Once there was a break in the traffic, I relished the clear view. Even when cars returned, I kept my eyes glued on the basilica.

I headed back to the piazzale and turned around a few times to glimpse the basilica’s marble façade before the trees hid it from me.

Ponte Santa Trinita — November 28, 2023
In the late afternoon, I headed down the Arno to watch the sunset. By the time I reached Ponte Santa Trinita, the sun had already disappeared behind the buildings. As the air was becoming chillier, people gathered their things and left. Most of them glanced over both their shoulders as they crossed the bridge.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Ponte Santa Trinita

While I zipped up my jacket, I stared at the glossy surface of the Arno with its mirror image of the riverscape. As the sun was setting, a few shards of light painted the clouds an orangey gold.  

After the sky dimmed, I walked toward Via de’ Tornabuoni where the holiday lights illuminated the street. Many gathered around the Statua della Giustizia to revel in them. I was tempted to go to the Piazza degli Antinori and take a detour home, but ended up turning down Borgo Sant’Apostoli instead.

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