Happening upon beauty

When I stroll around Florence, I love it when something attracts my attention. Sometimes itís a sunlit loggia, the city at a distance on a foggy day, the Basilica di Santa Croce under royal blue skies, or the Arno reflecting the riverscape. Itís unnecessary to seek beauty in Florence since it is everywhere.†

Living in Florence :: Happening upon beauty

Piazza del Pesce ó†October 27, 2022
A shrill bell rang as I walked up Via Pietrapiana. The streets were crowded, so I paused to let a bicyclist slalom his way past me. Before proceeding, I looked back. The Loggia del Pesce was so majestic under the cloudless skies that I turned around completely to admire it.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Piazza del Pesce

It was almost three oíclock. Empty tables and chairs beckoned guests to relax and enjoy the afternoon. The autumn sun shined underneath, making the veranda even more inviting.†

As a warm breeze fluttered by, I thought about sitting down. I imagined myself, sipping a coffee and watching the passersby. With the ring of another bicyclist approaching, I decided to continue my walk home.

Viale Galileo ó†October 31, 2022
As I opened the window shutters at sunrise, the streetlamps along the Arno flickered off. The deep blue sky turned gray within a few minutes. When I saw the hazy buildings across the river, I decided to walk up to Piazzale Michelangiolo. On a foggy day, Florence appears as if it were an island. The surrounding hills and mountains vanish, and all you see is the city.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Viale Galileo

I walked to a path below Viale Galileo where a strip of vibrant countryside frames Florence. I sat on a stone slab with my legs extended and my sneakers nestled in the dewy grass. The scent of the cypress trees and fertile soil flitted in the cool breeze. As I scanned Florenceís horizon, the illuminated Duomo beckoned me. That vibrant symbol of love melts hearts and uplifts spirits solely thanks to its existence. I gazed at the gold sphere atop the cupola and tried to tap into its vibrant energy.

As the fog evaporated, it unveiled patches of blue overhead. After the traffic subsided, I relished the silence. The graceful song of a blackbird perched on an olive branch filled the area with calmness and glee.

The sun pierced the clouds and set the city aglow. I headed back to the piazzale, passed through the Giardino delle Rose, and through San NiccolÚ to return home.

Piazza Santa Croce ó†November 14, 2022
On my way home after sunset, I rushed past Teatro Verdi. A city bus and two taxis zipped past me, kicking up a cool breeze. I grabbed both sides of my jacket and crossed my arms to keep the air from slipping underneath.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Piazza Santa Croce

The moment I entered Piazza Santa Croce, I no longer looked at where I was stepping. The illuminated piazza attracted my attention. When I reached the fountain, I paused.

With each breath, my body relaxed and I could more easily absorb the beauty around me. A few people milled around while others sat on stone benches. As the vibrant skies enveloped me with tranquility, I felt a surge of joy when I admired the basilicaís white marble facciata.

When a few cars passed by, I became distracted by the comings and goings. After one couple inched past me on the sidewalk. A woman bicycled by, her long hair floating in the air behind her.

As the skies darkened, the air became chillier, and the outlines of the clouds disappeared.

I continued home, looking back once before passing the corner of Borgo dei Greci.

Lungarno Corsini ó†November 22, 2022
I strolled up via Tornabuoni between the Basilica di Santa Trinita and the Colonna della Giustizia to reach Lungarno Corsini. The opaque sky and reflection of the riverscape on the water stopped me in my tracks. Instead of crossing Ponte Santa Trinita, I stood on the cement strip that delineates the bicycle lane. As cars passed me on one side and a few bicycles on the other, pedestrians meandered along the sidewalk.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Lungarno Corsini

After a small group made their way toward the bridge, I basked in the wide open space before me. I placed my hands on my heart and drew in a couple of deep breaths, immersing myself in my surroundings. The crisp scent of the Arno fluttering in the cool breeze and seagulls passing overhead embraced me with love and tranquility.

When cars and some passersby returned, I smiled. My quiet moments were few, but impactful.†

I continued across the bridge, admiring the Ponte Vecchio on my left and the Ponte alla Carraia on my right. The water and sky were both mellow while Florenceís energy swirled around me. My beloved city nudged me to take bolder steps along my path. Not just literally, but also figuratively.

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