Capturing moments to revel in

Over these past few weeks, I captured special moments that I reveled in while walking along the Arno, watching the sunset from Ponte Santa Trinita, strolling up Viale Poggi, and visiting Giardino Bardini.

Living in Florence :: Capturing moments to revel in

Lungarno degli Archibusieri — May 8, 2024
I set out for a stroll through the centro storico as the crowds dispersed. The energy in the air became mellow, and the pace slowed down. I walked up via dei Neri toward the Palazzo Vecchio. During the day, I avoid this street, but I felt a sense of delight in doing so without getting jostled. With the Torre di Arnolfo hovering in the distance, I peeked into the shops, cafés, and restaurants as I passed by. 

Living in Florence, Italy :: Lungarno degli Archibusieri

People were milling around the Piazzale degli Uffizi, reveling in the soft light and mild temperatures. I paused to glimpse the cupola behind the replica of David in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. 

The atmosphere was so calm that I headed for Via Por Santa Maria, which is the thoroughfare from the Duomo to the Ponte Vecchio. Along Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli, crowds lined up against the brick wall. Some taking selfies, others holding drinks; all basking in the view.

The sun glowed behind a veil of white, muting all the colors. It was too early to watch the sunset.

I walked through the arches below the Corridoio Vasariano. The sun lit up the tops of the pillars so brilliantly. At every opening, I glanced at the placid water and tall buildings across the Arno. 

When I spotted the Ponte Vecchio, I tucked myself into the corner. The ripples on the pea green water put a smile on my face. A few canottieri (rowers) were gathered near the meadow. When an empty renaiolo (sand digger boat) approached, I perked up. My heart stretched open to gather the magic along the riverscape: the burst of white sunlight to the east, the Ponte Vecchio’s shadow on the water, and the renaiolo floating west. 

As I walked up the river toward Ponte alle Grazie, I kept looking back. While the scenery was roughly the same, that unique perspective remained my favorite.

Ponte Santa Trinita — May 20, 2024
The sun glowed behind the white haze as I made my way to Ponte Santa Trinita. I wove through the crowds along Lungarno degli Acciaiuoli and found my spot on the bridge. I faced the horizon and breathed in the refreshing scent of the Arno. My body relaxed as I admired the riverscape.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Ponte Santa Trinita

The reflection of Ponte alla Carraia connected both sides of the river, where bright green meadows lined the calm waters. A single swallow flapped its wings and dipped and soared in front of me. The river became placid and changed colors every few moments.

Tourists milled about behind me as I leaned against the limestone barrier. I took photos, paused, and then took a few more. Some snapped photos, while others glimpsed the sunset and the Ponte Vecchio.

Renaioli (sand digger boats), carrying passengers, traveled up and down the river even after the sun slid down the sky, becoming a dark orange ball before disappearing behind the hills in the distance.

Viale Poggi — June 17, 2024
Once the thick clouds dispersed, the sun appeared, inspiring me to pop outside. Gusts of wind nudged me along the sidewalk as I crossed Ponte alle Grazie. I walked against the current down Lungarno Serristori: the river and the pedestrians were moving toward the Ponte Vecchio while I was walking away from it.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Viale Poggi

Instead of going up the steps alongside the Fontane delle Rampe del Poggi, I opted to follow the one-way road. Billowy clouds hid the sun, cooling down the air and dimming the light. While clinging to the side below the verdant hillside, I peeked out at Florence’s monuments above the tall hedges.

The moment the Duomo was embraced by two locust trees, I paused. I expanded my chest and breathed in as deeply as possible. The rich scent of the greenery relaxed not only my body, but also my mind. 

After a few minutes, I proceeded to Piazzale Michelangiolo, where people gathered along the railing. I positioned myself to take a photo, but didn’t linger. More and more visitors arrived by the minute to enjoy the view. 

I retreated to my initial spot and stood in silence. Cars passed by, but they didn’t disrupt me. It wasn’t until a church bell rang once that I strolled back home. I took with me the serenity of my time communing with my beloved city.

Giardino Bardini — June 18, 2024
The sun singed my bare skin as I hiked up the incline in Giardino Bardini, where roses drooped from the thin branches. Tiny fruits clung to some trees in the orchard. After rounding the corner, I hesitated at the bottom of the pergola. The dark leaves created a shady area that caused me to slow down and enjoy. The hydrangeas were blossoming in delicate shades of pink, white, and magenta while perky wisteria blossoms dangled from the sides and long seed pods swayed overhead.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino Bardini

I sauntered uphill, stopping often to take in more of the unhindered view. I snapped a couple of photos, took a few steps, and snapped some more. Every view was slightly different, unveiling some monuments and hiding others.

I passed behind the coffeehouse, where people sat under the loggia for a drink. The camellias had all disappeared since my last visit. The air was cooler, and the atmosphere was quieter.

Once I reached the villa, I walked to the empty terrace alongside the villa. People sat on the wooden benches in the shade. Where the sun was shining, no one was standing. Inches from the wrought iron barrier, I reveled in the cityscape. Towers, churches, and monuments protruded from the expanse of terra-cotta rooftops stretching toward the hills, where cypress and olive trees spotted the rural area.

Upon returning to the pergola, I took my time descending. The scent of dry grass, mingling with the torrid air, floated by. A pale yellow butterfly fluttered around the hedges and encircled me. After it disappeared, an orange and black one showed up.

While taking a video alone under the pergola, the noon bells rang. The majestic sound, reverberating throughout the gardens, relaxed my body, and lifted my spirits.

When I stumbled out of the gardens, I headed toward the river. My senses were still tingling as I crossed Ponte alle Grazie. I glanced back and spotted a snippet of the garden, which widened my smile.

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