Today, the streets of the Tuscan town continue to ravish in its traditional beauty. Despite the scaffolding, gypsies, and crowded tour groups; Florence never disappoints. As Vespas jet by and public buses rush dangerously close to the sidewalk, I feel at home again in the city.
The camaraderie of shop keepers grasp my attention as I steal sweet smells of something fresh. Looks are reciprocated to the blonde American ungainly staring into the opening Panineria. My cheeks blush as I smile and wave an eager “buon giorno!”
Images of my semester abroad flood into my head as I stroll by my old address. I sit on a nearby bench, reflecting on the time two Arab sisters on holiday joined me here as I rested from a run. We spoke of family and travel before I realized one of the sisters retrieved a panino for me to join them for lunch. This generous moment, among others, make all the reason why it is so easy to return to Florence, and make it so hard to leave.
Continuing under the citrus colored buildings, I pass the luminescent Santa Croce. Congested with vendors and tourists by day, the square dances with young socialites at night. This piazza hosts several events throughout the year. Including the December Christmas markets, a favorite to warm up with mulled wine and shop through isles of European gifts. To me and many, the Santa Croce provides a lively setting every hour of the year.
Though no Florentine visit is complete without passing the nucleus, Il Duomo. Her grandeur glamours all who enter Florence, gravitating visitors towards her presence. On top of the clock tower, coral rooftops conceal the earth. But if your are not willing to wait in line for a trek up the observation deck, the view from below is just as stimulating. Be patient, savor a pasta dish, indulge in local wine and return to the Duomo at the dead of night. Watch the moonlight glisten against the stone. As your pupils dilate and your head shuts out distant noise, you tell yourself,
“I’ll be back”