This summer more than ever the weather seems to be a bit quirky in Florence. Almost ever day, the weather surprises me by how it can change so quickly and dramatically. It could be sunny in the morning, then it’ll begin to rain, and just when you least expect it, the sun reappears. Yesterday, we had a temporale (thunder shower) in the afternoon and then in the early evening the skies cleared and made way for a lovely sunset.
I never really paid much attention to the weather reports until I moved to Florence. When I was growing up in California, basically the weather we had in the morning was what we’d be having all day. I used to be able to dress based on the season and didn’t need to check what the weather might be like outside. The only time I would look at the weather reports was to find out what the temperature would be.
I actually enjoy the unpredictable weather because it nudges me to be more present and live in the moment. When the sun is shining, I try to go outside and soak up the sun and when it’s raining, I might stay inside or go to a museum (if I’m free). I am more in contact with the elements in Florence due to the fact that I navigate my city by foot. I love noticing the difference of the humidity in the air, the wind on my face, the color of the Arno, and the sting of the sun on my skin.
Yesterday afternoon when the skies darkened and I heard tuoni (thunder) in the distance, I peeked out the window and waited for the rain begin to fall. Those who were walking down the street with an umbrella began to run and take cover. A couple of girls in tank tops, shorts, and sandals shrieked as they tried to avoid the puddles while running down the street. At one moment, the rain came down so fast that the sky became a hazy white and I could barely make out the buildings across the Arno. One woman stood alone in the doorway of an apartment building, waiting for the temporale to pass. Luckily for her, the heavy rain lasted only about a half hour.
Before heading outside, I looked out the window and also checked my weather app on my iPhone. It indicated mostly clear skies for most of the evening. After working from my apartment for most of the day, I couldn’t wait to go outside. I rushed to the Arno when I noticed that the sky was changing into a warm pink. I stood on the Ponte alle Grazie to look out at the Ponte Vecchio. Many others were lined up along the railing admiring the same view, watching the sunset, and taking photos. I arrived just in time to watch the sun as it lowered itself behind the Ponte Vecchio and took in the spectacular view of the Arno, my beloved city, and the lovely sky. I crossed Ponte alle Grazie to take this picture of San Niccolò. I found the glow of the buildings truly spectacular. Before I headed back home, I turned around to look at San Niccolò and the colors completely faded.
Florence has not only taught me that the simple pleasures in life are what bring great joy, but also that appreciating the moment is the only way to live. Taking time out of my day to watch the sunset is a gift. It brings me great joy not just to enjoy these moments, but also to share them with others.
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