Pausing to embrace snippets of beauty

Regardless of the shifts in the weather, I reveled in my beloved city every time I went outside. Florence presented me with snippets of beauty that spurred me to pause. Over a few weeks, I captured special moments while roaming around Giardino Bardini, strolling through Piazzale degli Uffizi, hiking up to Viale Michelangelo, and walking along Lungarno degli Archibusieri. 

Living in Florence :: Pausing to embrace snippets of beauty

Giardino Bardini — March 9, 2024
Instead of entering the Giardino Bardini in Via de’ Bardi, I hiked up Costa Scarpuccia to the entrance on Costa San Giorgio. Baby birds chirping from wiry tree branches welcomed me when I walked up the steps alongside the villa. Buoyant white clouds glided across the sky, infusing joy into this early spring day. When I walked through the terrace, some visitors were milling around while others were sitting on wooden benches. 

Living in Florence, Italy :: Giardino Bardini

I walked through the pergola to look at the rose bushes below the fruit orchard. There were only a handful of rosebuds developing behind the tiny leaves. Wild daisies and tall daffodils were swaying in the grassy area around the fruit trees.

On my way back up the pergola, I paused a few times to take in the view through the bare wisteria vines. The sun graced the city with a warm light that illuminated the Duomo. As I continued on, a robin popped out of a bush and pranced past me.  

Before stepping foot on the terrace, I headed for the olive grove. I wandered between the olive trees, breathing in the mellow scent of humid soil, tall grass, and wildflowers. The moment I glimpsed the multi-colored camellias decorating the bushes near the city wall, I walked toward them. Each one appeared like a work of art: their delicate petals splayed out created a melodic shape.

After the church bells rang—from the Duomo and Santa Croce—gray clouds began arriving. First light and then darker. Within a half hour, the sunlight waned, making way for shadows to envelop the gardens. The chilly breeze nudged me to find a sunnier spot, so I exited the gardens and walked down the hill to Ponte alle Grazie.

Piazzale degli Uffizi — March 16, 2024
On my way up Via della Ninna towards Piazza della Signoria, I looked left. The golden glow beneath the Uffizi’s arches compelled me to approach. Without giving it a second thought, I zigzagged around the people strolling through the Piazzale degli Uffizi. After passing a group of tourists, who had stopped to listen to their tour guide, I paused to gaze at the spectacle. 

Living in Florence, Italy :: Piazzale degli Uffizi

A cool breeze passed through the shady piazzale, reminding us that spring hasn’t fully arrived yet. Many stood along Lungarno Anna Maria de’ Medici to take photos of the Ponte Vecchio. Others milled around, passing the street artists sitting with their work surrounding them. 

Once I snapped a photo, a man sidled alongside me to do the same. We smiled at each other before leaving in opposite directions.

I looked back twice before turning into Piazza della Signora. I couldn’t stop smiling at how vibrant the sunlight was as it was bidding the city farewell.

Viale Michelangelo — March 25, 2024
As out-of-towners ambled through the centro storico, I headed up to Piazzale Michelangiolo. I crossed Ponte alle Grazie and wove my way through the streets of San Niccolò past terraces filled with patrons eating lunch.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Viale Michelangelo

I meandered through the Giardino delle Rose, where the rose bushes waved tiny burgundy and green leaves from the end of their branches. One family, lounging on a square blanket, was having a picnic on the freshly cut grass.

After exiting the gardens, I walked up Viale Poggi and took a wide path to reach Piazzale Michelangiolo. When I arrived at the top, I continued past David and headed for my favorite spot on Viale Michelangelo.

I peeked at the city, which was enveloped with a haze that blurred the view, beyond the lush valley.

Birds sang their unique melodies while very few cars and motorini passed along the avenue behind the hedges. During the moments of silence, I relished the faint breeze fluttering by.

Sitting on the stone path between a pair of olive trees, I contemplated the cityscape. The sweet scent of spring lulled me into a blissful state.

Within a few minutes, the sun evaporated the milky layer of sky, and lit up the gold sphere atop the cupola. I sighed as a wave of serenity settled over me.

Lungarno degli Archibusieri — April 5, 2024
Along Lungarno degli Archibusieri, I walked down the stone road where few cars pass. Pedestrians and bicyclists pass in both directions. I advanced past a large tour group, shuffling their feet below the Corridoio Vasariano. Ribbons of warm air flowed in the cool breeze as the sun illuminated the gray clouds.

Living in Florence, Italy :: Lungarno degli Archibusieri

When a snippet of the Ponte Vecchio appeared through the arches, I paused. A bicycle with two wicker baskets, parked on the sidewalk leaned against the pale yellow pillar. I inhaled quietly as the sun peeked through the clouds and set everything aglow. 

After taking a couple of pictures, the same group passed by as a bicyclist whizzed past me.

I crossed the Ponte Vecchio, where visitors took in the view from both sides. Toward Ponte Santa Trinita, the sky was clearing and patches of blue appeared. The expansive view felt like a warm embrace from Florence.

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