As January ended and February began, I experienced hints of an early spring in Florence. A rainbow from the terrace of Giardino Bardini, a sunset that hinted at warmer days to come, a golden glow behind San Frediano in Cestello, and a brilliant moon reigning the blue skies above Ponte Vecchio. These moments are memories I create in my Florentine life. Not occasions to glance at, snap a photo of, and walk away from, but to breathe in, enjoy, appreciate, and share.
Giardino Bardini — January 26, 2023After roaming around Giardino di Boboli, where I was sheltered by towering cypresses and lofty hedges, I made my way past Forte di Belvedere and took the narrow roads to Giardino Bardini.
Once inside, my first impulse was to admire the panorama from the terrace alongside the villa. Frigid gusts of wind blew my hair back and stung my face. While leaning against the metal railing, I wrapped my arms around my waist to keep warm. A smattering of snow adorning the crests of the outlying hills and mountains.
I caught a whiff of the green grass in an area where pruned rose bushes had been assembled and a fountain trickled water.
A group of young women approached the railing and snapped some pictures with their phones. When the next chilly gale arrived, they shrieked with laughter and left.
Before continuing my visit, I pulled out my iPhone. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a faint arcobaleno (rainbow) gracing the sky above San Lorenzo and the Duomo. The gray clouds didn’t seem to budge, but the pastel stripes wavered and then disappeared. I strained my eyes to see it, but contented myself with seeing it in my photo.
Ponte alle Grazie — January 31, 2023While on my way home, I extended my route to stroll down via Tornabuoni toward Ponte Santa Trinita. Shop lights glowed outward, gracing the faces of the passersby as the sky was dimming. When I reached the middle of the bridge, the sun had painted the clouds in pastel hues. The brisk rush of wind, carrying the Arno’s crisp scent, infused me with vim and vigor.
While looking at the horizon, I opened up my shoulders and breathed in the sunset.
Unable to withstand the steady stream of chilly air, I walked along the sidewalk below the tall buildings. Every few moments, I looked back at the sky as it dusked.
When I reached the top of the incline on Lungarno Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, the sun was glowing beneath the Ponte Vecchio. With only a handful of pedestrians, I appreciated the golden surface of the placid water.
An older man rushed to the brick wall and leaned over it. He stretched his phone over the river and snapped a few photos. I followed his gaze and was surprised to see the sky was ablaze with vivid colors. I took one picture before rushing to the middle of Ponte alle Grazie.
The chiming of Santa Croce’s bells drifted in the air as the sound of the water flowing over the weir hummed in the background. As the crescent moon beamed through a veil of clouds, the ribbons of color dissolved into the night.
Lungarno Corsini — February 4, 2023With Le Cascine behind me, I left the park’s tree-lined boulevards for the paved road alongside the Arno. The sun peeked through the patchy skies and shined a pale yellow light as it departed for the day. I breathed in the cool scent of the water heading west.
After crossing Ponte Vespucci, the energy of the city center intensified. Pedestrians strolled past me in the opposite directions while bikes and scooters zipped down the bicycle lane. Seagulls stood on the crest of the weir, facing the water about to flow over it.
When I saw how the sun was illuminating San Frediano in Cestello, streaming light through the cupola’s top three windows, I paused next to a lamppost. I placed my hands on the cement slab atop the brick wall and let my heart welcome this moment.
The serenity of the vista drowned out the hubbub behind me. Nothing could distract me from the splendor before me.
After the sun fell behind the skyline, I continued on with my walk. When I stopped at the traffic light at Ponte alla Carraia, I gazed at the riverscape. As the sky grew dark, I bid farewell to the day.
Ponte Vecchio — February 8, 2023I stood on Ponte Santa Trinita to watch the sky dim to a light gray. I hesitated for a moment to decide which way to walk home. Instead of crossing Ponte Santa Trinita and weaving through the crowds along Lungarno deli Acciaiuoli, I walked over to Borgo San Jacopo.
After rounding the corner before the Fontana dello Sprone, I walked down the stone road past the ortolano (green grocer), art galleries, restaurants, bars, clothing stores, and an enoteca (wine shop).
Opposite the Torre dei Belfredelli was a wide corridor that ended in a terrace above the river. A cool breeze wafted up from the Arno intensified. Couples enjoyed an aperitivo in the hotel’s seating area, while others gathered in the small nook.
I installed myself next to the wrought-iron railing after the crowd dispersed. As the water lapped against the riverbank, I gazed up at the full moon and down at its reflection multiple times. Both were so vivid that they distracted me from admiring the rest of the riverscape.
I left my spot as more people arrived. I was happy that they would see the Ponte Vecchio embraced in royal blue with the moon hovering overhead.
Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!