Thursday, May 28, 2020

Living in Florence :: Experiencing Florence anew

I have never experienced Florence as it has been these past few weeks. People stroll through the streets traversing the piazzas, along the Arno, and up to Piazzale Michelangiolo. Florence has not changed, but how we interact with her has changed. That hectic energy that buzzed throughout Florence before has vanished. The rhythm of the city is more natural: a gradual amping up and then a slowing down every day.

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

Living in Florence :: The beginning of Florence’s reawakening

Maybe no one noticed that Florence—as well as many other cities—had lost its way. The lockdown woke us all up to give us a chance to rethink her future. For years, Florence was playing catch-up. She pleased others for short-term gain and in the process lost her soul. Every year, more visitors came, and the city made more adjustments to accommodate them. Apartments became hotels while artisans, bakeries, butchers, fishmongers, and green grocers disappeared. They installed ATMs in many restaurants, bars, and bottle shops. Pre-made sandwiches with wilted lettuce and tomato slices dangling out sat in glass cases for people to pick up as they walked by. Fast food was more popular than slow food. Visiting Florence seemed to be more of a race than a pleasurable jaunt. 

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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Living in Florence :: Delighting in the Giardino dell’Iris

Every spring, I look forward to going to the Giardino dell’Iris. When they extended the lockdown to May 18, I wondered if the garden would remain closed this year. Fortunately, last week they announced that they would open the garden a few days earlier. Ever since the beginning of the month, I have made my way up to Piazzale Michelangiolo every day. After reaching the top, I always rushed to the railing above the Giardino dell’Iris to admire the irises. It amazed me how more irises had blossomed with each visit. 

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Friday, May 8, 2020

Living in Florence :: Florence slowly coming back to life

Last Friday was the first day that we were allowed to go out for a walk beyond the 200 meters defined shortly after we went under lockdown. It was cloudy and windy, but people came out to enjoy Florence. Families played frisbee in Piazza della Signoria where I stood to admire the water flowing in the Fontana di Nettuno and listen to the bells ringing at noon. It was a stark difference to just a few days before when I walked to my ortolano (greengrocer) in via dei Cerchi. On that day, only two people were walking through the piazza with their head down while two policemen stood outside of their car.

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