A Florentine friend, Filippo Ciabatti, now residing in the United States as conductor of the Dartmouth Symphony Orchestra, sent me a photo of myself in the role of American composer George Gershwin on the backside of a bus in central Florence. The advert shared that I would be appearing at Fiesole’s Teatro Romano with Gershwin and his ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ to close out the season on September 14. I asked him where he got such a thing. “Once a Florentine, always a Florentine, and news travels fast!” I had been alerted that such a thing was going to happen. Still, this photo that crossed the sea and returned was my first view of myself as Ataf’s rear end—and what a thrill it was—but why and how it got there in the first place has its roots in the magical and sometimes heart-rending history of Florence.