Florence: a city with an immense heart

When I came to Florence the first time, I was stunned. I wondered how a relatively small city could be so rich in art, history, and architecture. I was born in California and lived in Paris and London for many years, but I had never seen a city like Florence. Three days after my arrival in Florence, I no longer wanted to leave. Initially, I didn't understand how a city I knew for such a short time could settle into my heart. It took me a few years to understand that Florence had something few other cities have: an immense heart.

It's now been fourteen years that I've been living in Florence. For the first two years, I saw Florence's beauty as something that was rather static. I took a break in the US for five years and when I returned to Florence, I promised myself to never take my beloved city's beauty and abundance for granted. Living in a city like Florence, it's easy to see her beauty without appreciating it. We get used to her charm a bit like a diamond we wear on our hand: we don't truly appreciate its splendor each time we see it. It's easy to walk past the Duomo without really seeing it. We always have things to do and places to go. But the beauty of a city like Florence becomes even more significant when we appreciate it with our hearts.

Twelve years ago, I started a blog in which I write about my life in Florence. My blog has helped me to stay open to Florence. Initially I took photos to accompany each blog post and a few years later I bought an SLR to take higher quality photos. With my new camera, I started to see more facets of Florence's charm. Through the lens, I could see my city in a different way and, eventually, appreciate her more.

I no longer use my SLR because I'm able to take a photo more spontaneously with my iPhone. The arrival of Instagram also changed my life for the better. The greatest pleasure for me is to be able to share a photo on Instagram almost instantaneously. Appreciating a view while I'm walking around my beloved city, take a photo of it, and share it almost immediately fills me with great joy. My pleasure isn't only in taking the photo, but also in sharing it. Each picture that I take is not just a panorama that my eyes liked, but rather a moment in which I felt an emotion from Florence.

Florence's beauty is only the beginning of the love this splendid city gives. Her beauty enters your eyes and arrives directly into your heart. I love Florence not only because she is beautiful, but because her beauty transmits love to all those who open their hearts to her.

Original article in Italian, "Firenze: città con un cuore immenso" was published on Chianti Poesia.