Sunday, January 3, 2021

Living in Florence :: Magic happens in a moment

Before 2020 ended, I navigated the streets of my beloved city to absorb more of her charm and more of her energy. I delighted in Florence’s piazzas, bridges, holiday illuminations, and gardens. What I discovered was that magic happens in a moment: a peek through the arches on the Ponte Vecchio, a fascination with the moon above the Duomo, a pause along a busy street to take in Piazza Santa Croce, a glance at a single rose enhancing the panorama, or a stroll down the Arno after sunset. 

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

Living in Florence :: Experiencing beauty with more reverence

Living in Florence has taught me to experience beauty more reverently. Instead of perceiving beauty with my eyes, I take the time to absorb it through my senses. I commune with my beloved city by cherishing the details of her splendor, basking in her energy, and lavishing her with my love and appreciation. In these anecdotes, I gazed at the moon glowing above the Duomo, embraced autumn from Ponte San Niccolò, basked in the blue hour above the Ponte Vecchio, revered in the panorama from the scalinata alongside the Giardino delle Rose, and savored the sunset while standing on Ponte Santa Trinita.

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Monday, November 30, 2020

Living in Florence :: Enchanted by Florence in autumn

As autumn is winding down, many of the trees are now bare, only a few roses remain, the sky grows dark by early afternoon, and the air is chilly for most of the day. I continue to visit the gardens to immerse myself in their beauty. The view of Florence surrounded by colorful roses infused me with tranquility.

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Saturday, October 31, 2020

Living in Florence :: Pausing to perceive more beauty

It only takes one breath to tap into the beauty that surrounds us. Every time I did, beauty embraced me and filled my heart with tranquility and joy. Florence wrapped her arms around me and encouraged me to savor my surroundings even more. Basking in a moment with all of my senses reminds me that life is precious and that every moment is precious too.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Living in Florence :: Taking the time to relish in Florence’s details

Appreciating Florence is taking the time to bask in her splendor. Whether it’s watching a sunset, strolling along the Arno, traversing her piazzas, navigating her narrow streets, admiring her treasures, or traipsing through her gardens, Florence continually surprises and delights us. Along with Mother Nature’s magic—her light, her shadows, her clouds, her wind, and her seasons—Florence captures our hearts.

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Monday, September 14, 2020

Living in Florence :: Appreciating moments filled with beauty

Over the past few weeks as I perused my beloved city, I experienced many sweet moments to immerse myself in the beauty offered to me. Sometimes I went to the gardens where I was certain to find beauty, but sometimes beauty found me like when I caught the sunset from Ponte alle Grazie. 

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Sunday, August 23, 2020

Living in Florence :: Exploring Florence through the senses

During the past few weeks, small groups and families dined on restaurant terraces, people ambled through many of the piazzas and streets in the historical center, tourists visited museums and churches, and scenic spots attracted people to watch the sunset. August is a quiet month in Florence when many businesses close for a few weeks. It’s the time of year when people prefer beaches and mountains over cities. But this year many Europeans flocked to Florence, hoping to visit it with fewer crowds.

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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Living in Florence :: Being present to commune with Florence

The past couple of weeks, I went out for early morning strolls through Florence and romps in the gardens. I was also fortunate to have caught a stunning sunset after a rainstorm. When I walk around Florence, I make a point of communing with her. It is during these moments when I am aware of my surroundings that I can enjoy the beauty more and capture unique moments. Rarely do I search for a unique view because it is always different when I am more present in the moment.

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Living in Florence :: Seeking beauty through the eyes of my heart

As I roam around Florence, I enjoy letting my heart lead me in different directions. When a sight appeals to me, I pause for a moment to bask in it. I become as quiet as possible and allow my senses to capture the details of my surroundings. My photos and anecdotes are the keepsakes of these precious moments. However, the most significant souvenirs of these moments are the impressions they leave in my heart.

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Friday, July 3, 2020

Living in Florence :: Perceiving beauty is an act of love

Over the past few weeks, I hiked up to Piazzale Michelangiolo, strolled through the Giardino Bardini, visited Palazzo Pitti, caught a brilliant sunset from Lungarno Corsini, and delighted in seeing the moon alongside the Campanile. In my last post, I wrote about how Florence is an open museum, but also an open church. I don’t see Florence as a church in the religious sense, but as more of a sanctuary. A place where one finds respite and gains insight. Florence’s artwork, museums, bridges, gardens, river, and buildings inspire us to be present and see the beauty that is all around us. When we perceive the beauty at the center of every person, place, and thing, then we know love. 

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Living in Florence :: Delighting in Florence at a slower pace

When I stroll along the Arno, walk through the city streets, traverse the bridges, watch a sunset, or peruse the gardens, I make a concerted effort to slow down. When I hear the church bells ring, I pause. The sound reminds me to breathe and enjoy this magical moment. I revel in singular moments through my senses to engage more fully in the beauty around me.

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Monday, June 8, 2020

Living in Florence :: Appreciating Florence every day

This past week, I experienced my beloved city even more while she continues to awaken. A feeling of excitement fills the air as more of the museums, gardens, shops, and restaurants open and more people arrive to visit Florence. It was a joy for me to do and see more than I have been able to do in months. I felt a greater sense of appreciation while visiting monuments and gardens, walking around Florence, running up to Piazzale Michelangiolo, and watching a sunset.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Living in Florence :: Experiencing Florence with more reverence

My visit to the Campanile di Giotto last Friday inspired me to write narratives to accompany my photos on Instagram. I can’t promise that I will write them for every photo, but I would like to share more of my experiences of Florence in this way. I feel much freer when I write the narrative for the photo I'm publishing on Instagram. Many times, I wrote a narrative for a photo, but postponed publishing it because I didn’t want to use the same photo. Unfortunately, the delay turned into my not publishing the narrative at all.

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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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