Sunday, March 6, 2011

First Signs of Spring in Florence

As winter and spring continue to jockey for position, spring is insidiously winning out. Soon I will be guding tours on my bike again. In fact, in just a couple of days.

Today, departing from home on my basket-bedecked single gear bike, I allowed the verve of the city to draw me wherever it would. I had no particular destination in mind. I just followed the energy, the smells and the walking patterns of the people. For me, a big part of the mystique of Florence is that one doesn't need to be going somewhere to get somewhere. Here, when you leave it to chance, something fascinating and out of the ordinary will draw you in. This is the essence of the never-ending excitement of Florence. Like a rainbow appearing spontaneously in the sky, you see it differently with even the slightest change of angle. Thus the endless perspectives. Florence is always throwing out rainbows.

The streets were swarming with people again. Residents, tourists, students are waking up the city from its winter sleep, allowing little space to navigate the narrow streets on a bike. Within a few minutes I found myself heading for the Arno, then across Ponte alle Grazie, which provided some relief from the crowds. Although I am a city girl and thrive on crowds, I also love the fact that Florence is so full of contrasts. One minute I can be high on the buzz of people, bells, voices, motorini, and the next minute I can be high on the top of Florence, looking out at heaven, from heaven.

Before I knew it, I was enticed up to the top of the Bardini Gardens, which were peacefully disconnected from the sounds of the city, and observed a secret backstage performance of spring bursting out all over. Not a soul was there. It was another rainbow that Florence threw my way. Here are my photos.