Monday, August 6, 2012

My Apartment in Florence.....Moving On!

View From My Living Room
It’s been hot as hell in Florence since mid-June. As much as I love living the simple Italian life and have enthusiastically embraced old-world traditions like hanging my clothes out to dry and washing the floors with a 5 pound mop, there are a few American conveniences that I can’t live without. The top of the list::  air conditioning.
Florence can cook my brain and physically break me down as much in the summer as it can feed my brain and fulfill my soul the rest of the year. This season has been especially difficult for me to survive without air-conditioning. This has given me the incentive to search for another cooler, larger apartment in Centro.

Air conditioning is not really the reason why I am searching for a new place to live, but it has been the catalyst. The truth is that I have been living in the same apartment that I rented for 3 months when I came to study here.....4 years ago. My life has grown and now I want a long-term lease in a more residential palazzo, with an extra bedroom and bathroom.

View From My Bedroom
It is hard to believe after 4 years, that I would consider leaving this little piece of heaven where my fairy-tale destiny in Italy came true. I love my special place, but it is time to move on. I am ready to start “Chapter 2” of my life in Italy.

I must quickly reminisce! I found this apartment while I was planning to study in Florence for 3 months in 2008. It was advertised on Craigslist as the former art studio of artist Pietro Annigoni. Little did I know just what that meant! It featured an enormous, romantic bedroom with high chestnut-beamed ceilings, two walls of tall windows, a living room with a stunning view of the duomo, a fireplace kitchen and a terrace laced with jasmine and gardenias. In the bedroom where I sleep, Annigoni painted his portrait of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth! Yes, she sat in my bedroom!

Destiny, timing and instinct collided at once, leading me to my final doormat….this apartment in Florence.

During my 3 month stay, a series of successive miracles occurred, one after the other, begging me to stay. Life came together for me, and all of it happened from this special apartment, the home where I’ve spent my first 4 years living in Florence.

My Front Door and One of my Bikes
 Instant friends, an adopted Italian family with whom I spend weekends and holidays. A job that fell in my lap, and a group of local cyclists who invited me onto their team.

As if that was not enough, the greatest miracle of all was yet to come: After an unsuccessful attempt to find my grandparents’ naturalization papers (with no intent other than to proudly frame and hang them on my wall), I discovered to my utter shock that they (who immigrated to New York in 1909), never became American citizens. Discovering this exactly 100 years later in 2009, was an unmistakable act of God. This entitled me to be an Italian citizen “jure sanguinis”. My destiny: two passports, Florentine residency and a life in Italy that has allowed me to rediscover the “lost” traditions and comforts that I learned as a child growing up in a neighborhood of Italian immigrants who held strong to their Italian roots. My life in Italy was always meant to be, but it had to evolve.

My Bedroom
I am searching for a new place to call home in Florence. I don’t know how I will give up my epic view of the duomo. I don’t know how I will get along without the swallows returning to the rooftops every April 1st, where they sing for me every morning and return at sunset, flying in front of my duomo view, fulfilled and happy after a day of eating up the mosquitoes on the Arno. They left in mid-July, overwhelmed by the summer heat. And now I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to open my window again to greet them next April. I’m very lucky to have this unique place that I’ve called home since 2008.

But I am ready for a change, a larger space, to embark upon Chapter 2 of my life in Italy. The right place will appear as naturally and as certainly as this little piece of heaven appeared to me 4 years ago.

My Apartment Photo Album