Last night I went outside to get a little evening exercise. The air was shockingly crisp. I immediately felt a chill slip inside my jacket. I exhaled. Not since last winter had I seen my breath. Having been cooped-up all day working in the apartment, it was invigorating to step into an autumn night. Our apartment building fronts the Arno river, though there is a one-way street that separates our building from the actual river front.
I started walking at a brisk pace. I crossed the one-way street so that I could enjoy the expansiveness of the river. The hour was 7pm. Bobbi and I had just finished dinner and she was scheduled to Skype; so, I was alone. The moon was full, or nearly so. There were scattered clouds illuminated white by the moon and cast against an inky black sky. That in itself was a sight, but not sufficient for Florence. No, Florentine nights provide a sky accentuated by Renaissance architecture. This inspires. It is a skyline that makes one wish for a camera, or an artist for an easel. Jutting into the night sky are centuries old bell towers aglow in warm ambient floodlight. Together with the golden orb atop the Duomo and the golden lion atop the tower of Palazzo Vecchio, it makes for a skyline out of storybooks….and here I was just out for an evening stroll.
This was the crème of urban hiking. Just as one who hikes in the mountains enjoys beautiful wilderness scenery, one who hikes in Florence marvels at the stunning architectural antiquity; especially at night against a black canvas. As I walked, I was passed by joggers and dog walkers and couples out for a stroll. It made me realize, this was their town….this is what they get to see every night….. and that is not half bad.
I took in Florence last night. I let myself be in Florence last night; not as an outsider or a gawking tourist, but as one who inhabits the city. It made me realize the allure of the town. Those who live here are fortunate. This city not only has the beauty, the history, and the culture; but it also has limited crime, it is pedestrian friendly, and it is clean. It has great restaurants. It has a pleasant climate.
As I pondered these thoughts, and gazed across the Arno, my feet grew lighter and I started to jog. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to for my stomach to remind me that it was heavy, laden with rigatoni….so, I resumed walking. I returned to the apartment close to an hour later…..it was a memorable walk…..Florence is a memorable city.