Saying goodbye is painfully hard. I never imagined how fast and how hard I could fall in love with a city. I distinctly recall landing at the airport and not knowing what to expect. The surreal moment of seeing the Duomo for the first time looking out my bedroom window was when I first recognized that my heart and soul belonged to Florence. With almost a month before I must depart, the fear of leaving what I consider to be my new home is becoming an unhealthy obsession. To fight it, I remind myself to be present in each and every moment of being in Florence, as I now savor every sumptuous sip of Chianti.
Photo credit: Michelle Nigro_FSM_SLC
I had no idea how drastically my life could change by living here, with each moment, it seems, bringing a new awareness of the world, a new appreciation of my surroundings. Nothing can fill my heart with more joy than staring at the copy of the David at night in a deserted piazza della Signoria, listening to the soothing rhythm of the morning bells of the Duomo, the aroma of a decadent cappuccino in my favorite café, the freedom of wandering around the city with no agenda, the charm and beauty of the Arno River, and meditating at the Boboli gardens on a sunny day. These fleeting and liberating memories are treasures that rejuvenate my mind, soul and spirit. I am very glad that I was able to discover a city by myself, through my own eyes and heart.
My sadness at leaving is not helped by the fact that the Renaissance is still living and breathing here, from the street names to the churches, the museums and gardens that preserve the names and lives of the influential people who left their mark in every facet of the city. ‘Playground’ is the word that comes to mind when I think of Florence as people know how to enjoy life here and breathe in fresh air. People know how to laugh, how to enjoy good wine, how to dress the part and never to take life too seriously.
My real fascination with Florence is that it never ceases to amaze me. I can pretend to be an expert about a certain painting, artist or sculpture, but, in truth, I become humbled and speechless before every work of art, discovering something entirely different and each time leaving with a fresh set of eyes. I know now the true nature of art: to foster challenge and debate. Florence charms me out of my comfort zone, never allowing me to still my curiosity or pause in my quest for understanding the ancient and the modern.
I will never really say goodbye to Florence; I can say that with confidence. Spending time in Florence has always been my dream, and having achieved it, I know that I will always try to make time to come back to visit. In love with Florence, I am blind to its imperfections. Instead, I see only the overwhelming beauty here: in life, in love, in nature, in people, in art, in architecture and, most importantly, finding inspiration within myself.